Devin Bryant was looking forward to beginning his senior year at Covenant Christian Academy. The back-to-school experience looks a lot different this year because of COVID, but Devin was looking forward to closing out high school finally able to express his true self.
Covenant Christian Academy is a private school in Colleyville. Seniors are granted special parking spots, and it's tradition to customize them with special artwork. Devin’s design consisted of a list that read: “Super Hot, Fun, Attractive, Fast-driving, Insane, Very Smart, Outgoing, Party Freak, Young, Gay (as in happy don’t worry lol), Pretty, Reckless, Humble, Pyromaniac, Fun, Gay (as in homosexual this time, sorry) Person Parking Only.” When Devin submitted his design to Covenant’s booster club, it was immediately rejected.
“I then had a meeting with the principal in which we discussed the content of the artwork, which I agreed to change,” Devin says. “And I promised to not be as vocal about my sexuality for the rest of the year.”
At this point, Devin believed everything would be fine, as long as he followed the principal’s orders. He says he was told twice that the administration’s priority was to keep him in school.
Devin then submitted new artwork for his parking spot, which was instantly approved. He thought the situation was behind him, but four days before the first day of school, his mother, Consolata Bryant, received a phone call saying that Devin would not be allowed to return to Covenant.
Bryant believes that Devin's sexual orientation is what ultimately led to his expulsion from Covenant.
“I know of people who have gotten in trouble for stuff way worse than what I did,” Devin says, “and they were disciplined more lightly than me, which definitely leads me to believe that it wasn’t the content of the artwork I sent in that got me kicked out. I think the whole parking spot situation kind of showed them how I relate to my sexuality, and that relationship was the reason they decided to expel me."
Devin believes that it wasn't just his sexual orientation that the school had a problem with, but the fact that he was out and proud.
"If I would’ve come out and said that I was 'struggling' with same-sex attraction instead of saying that I’m gay, I think they would’ve had a totally different reaction, and I may have been allowed to still attend there," he says. "The fact that I identified as gay is what they didn’t like.”
At the beginning of every school year, students, parents and/or guardians are required to sign an enrollment document in which they agree to live “in accordance with the community guidelines.”
“This Covenant Christian Academy enrollment document, signed annually, specifically outlines practices and behaviors consistent with the CCA mission, based on our deeply held religious beliefs,” said Dr. Tony Jeffrey, Covenant Christian Academy headmaster in an email to the Observer. “That includes adhering to the biblical principal [sic] that the expression of human sexuality is appropriate only within the boundaries of a marital relationship between one man and one woman. It also states that prohibited moral misconduct includes maintaining a lifestyle not consistent with applicable biblical standards. ... Devin Bryant is an outstanding student, and we wish him every success in his studies, and in life.”
Devin had attended Covenant since pre-K, only for Jeffrey to seek his expulsion within the first few days after taking over as principal. Jeffrey had never met Devin, and he was not present at the meeting that took place following the parking spot artwork situation. Consolata claims Jeffrey said that if he had been at the meeting, he would’ve expelled Devin on the spot.
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“Despite the resolution we had reached, [Jeffrey] had taken it upon himself within the couple of days he had been at the school to seek votes from the board for Devin’s expulsion,” Bryant's mother says. “He secured the votes needed and thus was calling to let us know that Devin was not to report to school that Monday, the 10th, with his classmates. His exact words were that Devin had chosen an evil path that was contrary to the Bible and therefore was evil and he was only doing what Jesus would do. He offered us parent counseling. Not Devin, though.”
Devin says he is doing well despite his expulsion. He is enrolled at Colleyville Heritage High School, where he is already hard at work in several AP classes. After graduation, Devin plans to go to college to study sociology.
While Devin looks forward to the future, his expulsion from Covenant isn’t something that he and his family will soon forget. Both he and his mom worry for any other LGBTQ students who will attend Covenant in the future.
“I'm praying for the administration to discover true Christianity, and I must find it in my heart to forgive them for what they did to Devin,” Bryant says. “The administration definitely needs education on what Christianity is all about. Devin is a great kid. His spirit cannot be broken by weak individuals. Sadly, they will continue to do this to any student who in the future does not conform to the hypocrisy.”