She sat amongst her loved ones, her grin extending from ear to ear. “Blow them, honey!” her mother encouraged.
She blew out the candles on the colorful cake while facing the camera. She had no idea that such a seemingly innocuous deed would jeopardize her high school career.
Kayla Kennedy was an average teenage girl who lived in Louisville, Kentucky. She adored spending time with her friends and she was close with her family.
Kayla enjoyed her life. She was never scared to be herself and always stayed loyal to herself in terms of what she enjoyed. She had no idea how her decisions would influence her schoolwork.
Kayla was a student at Whitefield Academy. She had always dream of going to Whitefield as it was a prestigious private school.
She has been a student at the academy for over two years and she could not be happier. She'd planned to spend her entire high school career here, and she was making her dream a reality. But then something unexpected happened.
The problem occurred on Kayla's favorite day. Her fifteenth birthday had just passed, and her family had gone out to celebrate, as was their custom.
Kayla had been inviting her family and friends to her birthday party for years. Her mom decided to book a table at Kayla's favorite establishment and ordered a colorful cake for the occasion. The celebrations, however, would not last long.
A New Year
Kayla was excited for her birthday party. She'd welcome the day in the best possible way.
She wore her best clothes and decided to wear her brand new rainbow sweater. She gathered her friends and they made their way to the party where her family was nervously waiting.
Capturing The Moment
Kayla's birthday was perfect. Everybody came to celebrate with her and they all treated her with love and kindness. She felt like her heart was going to explode.
Kayla's mother wanted to capture the moment so she took a picture of the party to share with on social media. She had no idea how this would affect Kayla's schoolwork.
A week after her birthday party, Kayla was handed a letter from the headmaster Dr. Jacobson. Kayla noticed that the letter was for her mother, so she promptly stuffed it in her bag and went about her day.
Kayla's mother came into her bedroom later that evening and asked if she'd read the letter. Her eyes were tear-streaked, and she clutched the crushed note in one hand. What was going on?
Tears Of Frustration
Kayla's mother rarely cried, so she knew something was seriously wrong. "What's wrong, mom?" she asked concerned. Then she realized that her mother was not sad, but furious.
“I’ll be taking you to school tomorrow,” her mother firmly said. She wondered what happened that would have upset her mother to that extent. She needed answers.
Straight A Student
Kayla always excelled at school and she never got into any trouble. She was the teacher's favorite so she knew that was not the reason for her mother's frustration.
She pursued her mother, curious as to what had irritated her so much. She discovered the message on the kitchen island, next to her mother's purse. Her heart leapt as she scanned over it.
What The Notice Said
“An expulsion notice,” Kayla's eyes widened as she read the words for the fifth time. Her body was depleted of energy, and she collapsed to the floor, but her mother grabbed her.
“Why? Why am I being expelled?" she asked her mother with tears in her eyes. Her mother gave her no response but rather held her tightly while reassuring her that things will be alright.
The Wrath Of A Mother
The school was expelling Kayla because of the cake and sweater in her birthday photo. It insisted that Kayla presented herself in a light contrary to Whitefield Academy's beliefs.
But Kayla’s mom wasn’t hearing any of it. To her, Kayla was a happy, expressive, respectful, and kind girl. She loved her daughter more than anything in this world and would fight for her till the end.
Fighting For Her Daughter
A woman in a suit visited Kayla’s home the next day. In her conversation with her mom, Kayla heard them talk about an invasion of privacy and defamation. Her mom was nodding keenly, but Kayla couldn’t understand what they talked about.
That night, her mom came into her room and explained everything. She was taking the school to court under several grounds, two of them being defamation and invasion of privacy. “This is war,” she said.
A Broken System
A wild back and forth ensued between the school and Kayla’s mom over the next week. It became clear that the school didn’t approve of homosexuality, which they linked to Kayla’s expulsion.
What pained Kayla’s mom the most was that the school singled out her daughter for expulsion. The school didn’t follow its disciplinary steps, jumping directly to the extreme measure. Would such a case hold in court?
Going To Court
Kayla’s mom took the school to court, but the case proved harder than she’d projected. The school insisted that its rules were in line with Kentucky laws.
The school also revealed that this wasn’t the first time they collided with Kayla. She’d been warned before regarding her lifestyle choices and how they didn’t align with the school’s values. So, did Kayla and her mom lose the case?
Sunshine Above The Storm
Kayla and her mom lost the case against Whitefield Academy. But the school changed the expulsion into a voluntary departure for Kayla, cleaning her record.
Although this experience was harrowing for Kayla, it helped her find her true self. It also showed her she could always count on her mom to stand by her through thick and thin.