Santa Fe Christian school discouraged same-sex couple from applying

Santa Fe Christian school discouraged same-sex couple from applying
Encinitas City Councilman Joe Mosca, left, and spouse Matt Bosse pose with sons Devan, left, and Garrett. The family said that Santa Fe Christian recently discouraged them from applying for Garrett because they are a same-sex couple.

When Matt Bosse began looking for a middle school for his 10-year- old, Garrett, several friends told him to consider Santa Fe Christian Middle School, a school known for rigorous academics, proud athletics and a Bible-based curriculum.

After all, they said, Garrett is a high-character, straight-A student at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School, an altar boy at his Episcopalian Church and plays competitive lacrosse.

So it came as a surprise, Bosse said, when school admissions director Vicki O’Rourke late last year discouraged him from applying because they weren’t the type of family that would be welcome at the school.

The reason, Bosse said? Because Garrett has two fathers.

Bosse’s spouse is Encinitas City Councilman Joe Mosca, who became the city’s first openly gay councilman when he was appointed in 2017. Bosse and Mosca said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” by the school’s decision, which they called outdated.

“It was the first time in our experience that we have faced that sort of discrimination,” Bosse said. “We respect SFC and their right to run the school, but in this day in age, it seems antiquated.”

Mosca echoed Bosse’s sentiments.

“When they told us that we weren’t invited to apply because we were two dads it was shock to us,” Mosca said. “Hopefully by telling our story it can effect some change.” Santa Fe Christian Middle School Director Todd Deveau said in a statement that the school doesn’t comment on specific admission decisions, but commented on the school’s admissions practices.

Encinitas City Councilman Joe Mosca, left, and spouse Matt Bosse pose with sons Devan, left, and Garrett. The family said that Santa Fe Christian recently discouraged them from applying for Garrett because they are a same-sex couple.

“While we do not provide details on matters involving students or prospective students, I can say that our policy is to encourage the family of any student committed to academic excellence and spiritual development to apply,” Deveau wrote. “As a matter of practice, we do not attempt to persuade or dissuade prospective families from applying.

“At the same time, as part of the admissions process, we make clear to prospective applicants that they will be joining a Bible-based community designed to disciple students to embrace
biblical truth,” Deveau’s statement continued. “This is our mission and our purpose, and a vital component of the SFCS experience.”

According to the school’s website, Santa Fe Christian’s admissions season begins in October, and includes two rounds of applications, an entrance exam and a family interview.

The goal, according to the website, is to “match students/families with our school mission statement by evaluating applicants on the spiritual, academic and behavioral requirements identified in the admissions criteria.”

Among the four-prong admissions criteria is “spiritual commitment,” which requires one parent to be a Christian and at least one parent and the child currently attend a “Christ-centered” church, and show a sustained commitment to said church, including pastoral references. Parents must also agree with the school’s statement of faith and provide a written Christian testimony, although it is preferred that both parents provide written faith testimonies.

Parents must also sign a so-called “Parent Commitment Form” that indicates their support and compliance with the philosophy, statement of faith, spiritual goals, policies, practices and
objectives of the schools.

The admissions criteria also includes a behavior section. While the section only specifically calls out drugs and alcohol use as a disqualifying offense (prospective students must be drug and alcohol free for a full semester before being admitted) and does not call out homosexuality, it includes a requirement that “students and parents must exhibit behavior, both in and out of
school, that is consistent with SFCS’ Christian values.”

Mosca said that he and Bosse regularly attend St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Encinitas, where Garrett is an active volunteer at the church’s homeless shelter. Both Bosse and Mosca said they were raised in devout Catholic families.

The family stressed that they are very happy with the public school education they are receiving at OPE, but with their oldest heading to middle school, they wanted to explore all of the different options.

Both men said that when they told the friends who had encouraged them to consider Santa Fe Christian — parents at OPE who had attended the private school themselves — they, too, were shocked.

“We have a lot of really amazing people in our lives that we trust and respect and that have actually gone to the school or have sent kids to the school, and they don’t know that that is the policy,” Mosca said. “And they would never support that policy.”

“It would be surprising if the Santa Fe Christian community knew they (admissions directors) were delivering this type of message,” Bosse added. “Most of our friends involved with the school don’t practice that type of Christianity.”

Unlike public schools, which fall under both federal and state anti-discrimination laws such as Title IX and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, private schools that don’t accept federal or state funding have no such protections, experts said.

Courts have ruled that religious schools are exempt from those statutes because they would infringe on the school and parent church’s free right to exercise its religious beliefs.

In California, the Unruh Act bars discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status or sexual
orientation by businesses. The courts in 2009, however, have ruled that the laws don’t apply to private religious schools because they aren’t businesses.

Paul Castillo is a senior attorney and students’ rights strategist with Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ legal organization. Castillo said that nationally, the current administration has emboldened discrimination of LGBTQ students, both by individuals and institutions.

“You have an Administration that continues to erode protections for LGBT people in every facet of life,” Castillo said. “It sends a horrible message that discrimination aimed at vulnerable
populations is not only acceptable; it’s encouraged.

“The sad reality is that LGBT students, many of whom are bullied, harassed and suffer discrimination at a private religious organizations have very few options,” Castillo said.

Bosse and Mosca both said they weren’t looking to punish the school or to force them to admit Garrett. They just wanted to raise public awareness to the fact that discrimination of this kind still exists.

“We actually appreciate them being up front about it,” Bosse said. “The last thing we want to do

is subject our son to any discrimination. It’s just sad that it still exists.”

26 Comments
  1. blah 7 days ago

    Perhaps they should try applying to Cathedral Catholic or Horizon Prep.

  2. Joe 7 days ago

    Santa Fe Christian also also bought a lot near me and ignored every zoning law. Tried to build a sports field in a residential zone, without permits. Put up an 8ft fence, 6ft is the law. Moved a lot of dirt, including blocking off the only runoff source, again, no permit. They got shut down twice. Even sprayed pesticides and then plowed. They are not good Christians and even worse neighbors. Jesus would be ashamed of these hypocrites. Not the people to leave your kids alone with.

    • SFC alumni 5 days ago

      I am a former student of SFC and I don’t appreciate you bashing the school. What you have said is not true and I personally would like to say that if you a complaint about the school, take it up with the school itself first before you tell people not to apply.

  3. Joe 7 days ago

    Different Joe commenting BTW, not Mosca.

  4. Sfc parent 7 days ago

    I’m appalled that a gay couple comes to a “bible-based” school & then claims to be discriminated against & given “very few options”. I know a lot of gay people who have used some common sense in order to feel less violated. Ie don’t run headlong in the direction of a Bible based school looking for an education for your son who is raised in a home that holds very different views & then act like a victim. As a Christian, I begin to feel that very same way- indeed attacked. We are once again called “antiquated”, old-fashioned, inflexible. Can you begin to imagine what would happen if I called you a name? Every corner I turn, MY “right” to embrace the Bible as infallible is challenged. You don’t see me running to Coast News with that fact. You sirs, need to dig deeper & look at the agenda you had in the first place, Mr. Councilman who doesn’t “wish to punish”, only wishing to enlighten the world that we really believe what we say we believe at SFC. No agenda for sure.

    • Gerry 6 days ago

      Thank you. My children are now adults, but I also feel attacked by the homosexual etc. groups. Why don’t they respect our opinions, feelings, needs, dislikes?

    • Oliver 5 days ago

      Thank you for thoughtfully sharing your feelings. From reading your comments, are you saying you feel like a victim because you’re Christian and it’s not right that you can’t call people “names”? Are you truthfully offended at being called “antiquated”? I’m Carholic and agree we’ve held some antiquated (flat out wrong) beliefs for centuries (see “sun revolves around Earth”). You caution these men to not run “headlong” into something they know won’t turn out well; but, isn’t that like saying a woman shouldn’t wear a “sexy” outfit in a situation where she knows some kind of assault might happen? The bottom line is that discrimination is about power and Christins have a lot of power in the United States. I hope you can kind of see the irony in you saying you feel like a victim—“attacked”—while simultaneously telling others to stop being a victim.

    • Another SFC parent 4 days ago

      I too, am a fellow SFC parent and I’m appalled and disgusted by your response. How do you know that this particular couple holds “very different values” in their home. Do you know them? Are you sitting down at the dinner table with them? Watching over them when they pray at night? Let me ask you a better question: What would you do if you found out that your perfect little SFC student was actually gay himself? Would you remove him from the school? You shouldn’t feel “attacked” that they were hurt by being seen unfit, you should feel sad. Sad that a family that loves their children and cares about their education cannot be learning along side yours simply because of their sexual preference. The God I believe in doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t care about the color of our skin, gender or who we choose to love. Open your heart and mind, this is now who He wants us to be.

      • sfc parent 4 days ago

        Thank you “another SFC parent” this exactly how I feel and I too am a SFC parent. The God I believe in doesn’t discriminate.

    • coolgranny50 4 days ago

      LOVE your response! It is Christians who are discriminated against! We are suppose to leave our very foundational beliefs; the very air we breathe, out of our own private lives and businesses, so as not to offend! So, instead of raising a stink, and forcing foreign beliefs out of public schools so that OUR kids can fit in, and not be discriminated against…we go off quietly, and peacefully, and we start our own schools ( that cost us a fortune BTW ), and yet, they come looking for us to start a fight!! Who has an agenda here?!

    • Catholic, gay, ex-SFC student 4 days ago

      The couple is active in THEIR Church and was explicitly told by current SFC parents that they WOULD be welcomed. Of course they were surprised!

      Not every Bible based school believes homosexuality is a sin. I know that plenty at SFC don’t. Your accusation that this family is doing this for political gain and that YOU are being discriminated against speaks volumes.

      Here’s hoping that current students and parents at SFC who find the school’s admissions policy inconsistent with the Christ they know and love will reconsider their choice of school.

  5. Blessed Parent 7 days ago

    The idea that other parents of the school were shocked and had told them they would have no problem during the admissions process is curious. As a parent, been there 12 years, I would not think that any involved family would feel that a same-sex couple would pass the admissions process. Seriously, why would a parent want their kid in school that does not support a parents lifestyle? It’s a biblically based, private school and they have the right to adhere to their beliefs. As with any school, we parent our kids and have open communication about the pro’s and con’s of decisions and beliefs of other families, teachers, coaches and administration. They are not judging, they are simply living their faith. The Bishops school, which is Episcopalian, is an excellent choice these two parents have available to them. This is simply bait to promote activism.

  6. Proud Parent 7 days ago

    As a proud parent of a Santa Fe Christian student (6+ years at SFC), I can say that SFC does have exceptional academics, outstanding athletics, and a strong Bible-based community; this is evident by this couples attempt to earn acceptance at SFC. However, as difficult as it may be for any parent to realize, it’s unfortunate that this couple perceived open and honest communication about SFCs mission being rooted in a strong spiritual community as something to promote activism. The goal of SFC admissions is to ensure there is absolute awareness of SFC mission and community – it would be a failure to the SFC community to do anything less and expose our community to those who judge others’ strength and devotion to living an open and honest faith-based life.

  7. SFC has rights too 7 days ago

    I support Todd Deveau, excellent statement. And I agree with “Blessed Parent”. This is nothing more than a liberal witch hunt.

  8. Jeff 6 days ago

    This Coast News article left out a few details that seem to warrant a follow-up story: 1) Was the student seeking admission to SFC claiming to be or found to be gay, or was he simply being excluded based on the supposed sins of his fathers? 2) Was there any comment from leadership of the St. Andrews Episcopal Church over the implication by SFC’s admissions committee that it is not a “Christ-centered church”? 3) It would be interesting to know how many other high-achieving, civic-minded, Christ-centered students have been expelled or denied admission to SFC due to the transgressions of their parents (i.e. parents that have committed sins such as usery, adultery, covetousness, passing judgment on others, etc.)

  9. JB 6 days ago

    This article highlights that freedom of religion still exists in our nation. I am thankful that Santa Fe Christian is allowed to adhere to its beliefs based on the teachings of the Bible, and not forced to be subjected to the ideology of an overreaching state. Thank you to the courts for protecting our religious freedom, and honoring the founding documents of our great nation. I’m not sure why the media does not understand this.

  10. C.J. 6 days ago

    The hypocrisy of some so-called “Christians” continues to astound me. If Santa Fe “Christian” school’s intolerant perspective is reflected in the way students there treat one another, perhaps it’s best that Mr. Mosca select another school for his son where love for one another is really practiced.

  11. The Dr. 6 days ago

    I’m a parent who sent his son to Santa Fe Christian a number of years ago. At the time, I was having an affair with a co-worker and living a life of deceit and self centered behavior. As you can imagine, I’m not a poster child for SFC parents and my son was accepted because of the way my wife lived and not me. She was active in SFC and made many friends that became close to her. As she became more aware of my deceit, it was one of those fellow SFC mom’s she had befriended who became an integral part of my life even though I’ve met her once in passing. She wrote me a note that planted the first seed in me that I could look to Jesus to change my behavior. At the same time, my son had a teacher that played a TobyMac song every morning as the students entered the class. Like most kids this song was the only one my son would listen to when we’d get in the car or he listened on a stereo loud enough for the neighborhood to hear. “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my to soul” were the lyrics and became another seed that was planted because of SFC. In part because of the influence of a friend found through SFC and a teacher who thought he was influencing his students but also had a huge impact on their parents, I’ve since surrendered my life to Christ and through his Spirit have been able to journey towards restoration.

    Because of my story, I wouldn’t have a problem with SFC admitting your son and showing him the same love and care as they did my son. My son had nothing to do with my Christianity or lack thereof. However, it appears that you’re asking or trying to build public pressure to have SFC change their beliefs or hold back on their message. This is what I think is happening.

    If your son came home and had to study or memorize 1 Timothy 1:8-11 would the charge be that the school was discriminating? Would your call to the newspaper be that SFC doesn’t teach a politically correct form of Christianity? That is the tone of your message and that should be opposed as much as those who use Christianity as a means of justifying discrimination.

    What you state as being “a type of Christianity” that your friends “do not practice” is actually a belief that is held by and practiced by the vast majority of Christians. By imposing your beliefs on us and making Christianity pass through your filter you practice what it is you think you’re fighting against.

    This “type”of Christianity believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and that there is a New Covenant that we live under because of the life, death, resurrection and soon return of Jesus Christ. So while the type of Christianity that SFC has at its foundation is “antiquated” in your opinion, it is the only type of Christianity that exists in my opinion. I don’t get to pick and chose what is and isn’t acceptable under the New Covenant which given to us through Jesus.

    Respecting ones beliefs is much different than trying to impose your beliefs. This seems to me that your focus is to impose your beliefs on SFC by making an arguement that there is a “type of Christianity” that leads to “discrimination.” To be clear, the one who is discriminated is the one who is thought less than because they don’t believe as you do.

    Definition of discrimination
    a : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment racial
    b : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually

  12. Sindie Sardo 6 days ago

    THIS editorial (below) is VERY well stated & worthy of a Copy/Paste.
    “Simply bait to promote activism”?
    Indeed. Clearly the Encinitas councilman aims to increase his name recognition around town. His claims of harmless motivation do NOT ring true.
    We are not so easily fooled.

    COPY/PASTE:
    Blessed Parent
    1 day ago
    The idea that other parents of the school were shocked and had told them they would have no problem during the admissions process is curious. As a parent, been there 12 years, I would not think that any involved family would feel that a same-sex couple would pass the admissions process. Seriously, why would a parent want their kid in school that does not support a parents lifestyle? It’s a biblically based, private school and they have the right to adhere to their beliefs. As with any school, we parent our kids and have open communication about the pro’s and con’s of decisions and beliefs of other families, teachers, coaches and administration. They are not judging, they are simply living their faith. The Bishops school, which is Episcopalian, is an excellent choice these two parents have available to them. This is simply bait to promote activism.

  13. Ms. Understood 6 days ago

    Just because SFC is close in proximity to Rancho Santa Fe does not mean it’s quality. The school IS that type of pseudo-Christian (read: hypocritical) type of place.

    I attended SFC in the 90s and was HEAVILY discriminated against in Mr. Mehl’s & Mr. Salyer’s Bible classes… just for being a Catholic! Same God, same bible, every bit as possessing of “Christian beliefs” (at least I was, theirs in retrospect should be questioned) and yet they grilled me like a witch in Salem. Every class and in every discussion I constantly was made to answer for and defend the whole of Catholicism and Catholic dogmatic variation as they would point out their superiority to other religious sects in an insulting and deprecating way to those of from different backgrounds in Christianity.

    Lesson: SFC was (and apparently still is) garbage at espousing a true message of Christianity & Jesus’ teachings… plus their academics are sub-par. You’re better off in San Diego’s Catholic schools if you’re looking for private education or even the public school than enrolling even a family pet at this school.

  14. Joyce 5 days ago

    There are different kinds of Christians; generally it means you follow Christ, who never spoke out against homosexuality and was tolerant of prostitutes and tax collectors. But while I do not have children who have attended Santa Fe Christian, I was aware they are the kind of Christians who look to impose their own rigid theology on others.

    • SoCal Baker 4 days ago

      You clearly have never read the bible or at least the never read the red letter parts. Jesus was not tolerant of prostitutes and tax collectors sins, he condemned their sin and told them to repent and turn away from their sin and thats what Matthew and Mary Magdalene did. Jesus also affirmed marriage is to be between one man and one women Matt 19:5 and condemns unlawful sexual intercourse which includes homosexual intercourse Matt 19:9, not to mention all that is stated in Romans by Paul against Homosexual acts.

  15. Rich 4 days ago

    Interesting article on loving parents who want a quality education for their child, followed by comments alleging self-aggrandizement, rights trampled, and questionable Christian faith from all directions.

    Perhaps it is not that anyone is trying to impose their beliefs on the other, but rather this is an exercise in taking another minuscule step toward opening minds to broader thinking. Challenging the belief that “gay” and “Christian” cannot coexist in the same person. Recognizing one’s Evangelical church may spend entire sermons on the meaning, implications, history, relevance, and interpretations of several Bible verses, yet take a literal view of passages with no regard to context of when they were written.

    It is not a lack of respecting one’s ability to believe what they wish, but the wish to challenge one’s perspective as not digging deep to find the truth for themselves. Recognizing Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed due to their self-centeredness and inhospitality, and not for the homosexual acts of male rape they used as a form of punishment and humiliation.

    Is homosexuality “normal”? No. Is it a variation in the beauty and diversity God has created? Yes, just as any other human trait. Is it a “lifestyle”, as one would refer to a standard of living? No. Not anymore than referring to most typical families as living a “heterosexual lifestyle”. It is just two Christian parents wanting the best for their children. And, certainly, there is nothing to be scared, ashamed, afraid of, or reason to distance one’s self from that.

    Everyone’s views may be respected, but greater respect is earned for those who hold their views based on what they have sought out and learned, and not just told what to accept.

  16. Scott 4 days ago

    It’s very difficult to believe some of the statements made by Joe and his partner. They either are not the brightest light bulbs around or are being deceptive. I tend to believe the latter, given that Joe is a politician who recently moved from the L.A. area, appointed (not elected) to the Encinitas City Council, trying to make his political mark in the community that supports his values concerning same-sex marriage. As parents who have applied at SFC, my wife and I have been through the interview process (our child ended up not attending), where SFC’s biblical values and theology are clearly communicated to prospective applicants. These values are not based upon popular culture, which is generally influenced by the main-stream media (exemplified by the prominence of this newspaper article) and the gay political agenda. The biblical view of marriage clearly does not support same-sex marriage; this biblical view and the gay political agenda’s view of marriage are mutually exclusive, and always will be. If both parents are clearly opposed to the school’s biblical values or theology, why would a private religious institution like SFC approve their application? The vast majority of religious institutions do not base their “antiquated” values on the values of popular culture, the standards of which don’t stand the test of time. Moreover, a parent who attends or was raised in a church doesn’t necessarily mean their application should be accepted, and as the non-Christian world knows, church attendance definitely does not qualify anyone to call themselves a “Christian”. Those who attack SFC either don’t have a educated understanding of their theology or disagree with it. But that’s ok, because as a private religious institution, SFC has the right to freely exercise its religious values when selecting families into their educational program, whether or not such values agree with popular culture.

  17. Catholic, gay, ex-SFC student 4 days ago

    Classic SFC.

    As a school, they need to be a little more upront about NOT being non-denominational (though I doubt they could stay in business without the attendance of Catholics, Episcopalians, etc). They are an EVANGELICAL school, which, as a denomination, has clearly established itself against same-sex relationships. They are wrong, but legally they have the right to curate their bubble.

    Clearly, this couple cares deeply about their faith and is active in their religious community. I’m sure it legitamately WAS shocking (to the disbelief of some commenters here) to be told by other parents that they’d be welcome (as they are in their Church) and then not be welcomed by SFC. As much as the evengelical church would like to believe otherwise, there are plenty of “good” Christians and Christian sects that are NOT buying into some of the evangelical’s more antiquated (and biblically cherry picked) religious ideas.

    The suggestion that this family was looking for trouble is gross, but not surprising coming from people that truely believe homosexuality has no part in God’s plan. Again, plenty of Christians have read their Bibles, searched in their hearts, and realized that this particular tennant of the Evangelical Christian faith is paranoid, discriminatory, and inconsistent with the Jesus they know.

    I faced plenty of pregidous at SFC against my family’s Catholicism (jokes about the crusades and the Virgin Mary from students and teachers, my mom being told that she was not welcome to volunteer with the board, etc). Lord only knows how things would have turned out if I had stayed for highschool (where I eventually came out as gay). But in a culture where it was totally cool with everyone for a teacher to say they’d prefer if “all the gays were rounded up and shot,” and “smear the queer” was played regularly in PE, I’m sure it would have been harder than it already was.

    I’m absolutely sure that the parents that recommend the school to Joe and Matt were being sincere. Unless you have to deal with homophobia on a daily basis, it’s easy to believe that the institutions that support you and your family, institutions filled with lots of other kind and progressive people, would also support a gay family. But at the end of the day, the school is rooted in Evangelical Christian Fundamentalism, and they won’t hesitate to bar “the gays” from their institutions.

    Thanks Joe and Matt for bringing this issue to light. Here’s hoping that SFC families that are not comfortable with this policy will reconsider their choice of schools.

    I’m glad I did.

  18. Encinitas parent 2 days ago

    I am dismayed and saddened that such a nice family would be made to feel unwelcome in any way in our community. One of the reasons I chose to make Encinitas my home is that I believed it was a community that was tolerant of diversity. I have friends and neighbors who attend SFC. My own children are in elementary school and we will exploring middle school options in the next few years. If SFC is in fact unwelcoming of children who have gay parents, or of gay children, I think they should be up front and clarify their policy to the public, so that prospective applicants and current students can make an informed choice of whether or not they choose to join a school community that excludes families based on sexual orientation. There are many homosexual Christians, and plenty of Christian churches that welcome gay members and are accepting and supportive of gay relationships. So, no, is should not be expected or obvious that a bible-based school would reject a child applicant of gay parents. But, if that is the school’s policy, they should clearly state it.

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