An Akron mother says a Christian school in Cuyahoga Falls kicked out her two children because she's not married and her kids have different fathers.

Summer Grant, 30, said Chapel Hill Christian School, which offers preschool through sixth-grade classes at campuses in Cuyahoga Falls and Springfield Township, dismissed her daughters, fourth-grader Summara-Rayn, 10, and second-grader Summaia, 7, last Friday with only about 30 days of school left.

“Just because I'm not married and my children do have different fathers doesn't mean that I don't want my children to have a good education and I don't want them to know who Christ is in their education,” said Grant, a single mother of three who works one full-time and two part-time jobs.

The Beacon Journal reached out to school administrator John Wilson and board of education chairman Jeff Sumner via phone and email for comment Thursday and received an emailed statement in response.

According to the statement, parents sign a written agreement “meant to reflect a common commitment to the cause of Christ” — an agreement Grant said she doesn’t remember signing.

“While we believe it would be wrong to make public the particular circumstances that led to this separation, out of concern for the privacy of the family, we also felt that dismissal was necessary in order to protect the safety of our school children and their families,” the statement reads.

Grant said based on her experiences attending both public and private schools while growing up in the Akron and Pittsburgh areas, she knew she wanted her children to attend a private Christian school. The girls have attended both Chapel Hill Christian School campuses, but they most recently went to the Cuyahoga Falls campus.

When Summaia was in first grade, Grant said Wilson began frequently asking her questions about when she would be marrying her youngest daughter’s father, with whom she was in a relationship at the time. She said he’d also ask the girls with whom they lived or where they lived.

“Honestly, I thought it was just coming from a place of being a pastor and just being concerned and wanting the best for us, at first,” she said. "It just started to be uncomfortable because it was just all the time."

 

Last July, Grant said she met with Wilson to discuss the girls’ scholarship for the upcoming school year. She said the conversation quickly turned from scholarships to her daughters and their fathers, with him asking her “how we can get your household to live biblically moral.”

"It wasn't about whether they had their scholarship in place,” Grant said, tearing up as she recalled the conversation. “It was more or less about me just not living right … It was an uncomfortable conversation, but I sat through it because I really wanted my children to go to the school."

The school year progressed until last Wednesday, when Grant said there was an issue with Summara on the school bus; the bus driver said he called her name and she didn’t answer, but she said she didn’t hear him because she was talking to a friend. The next morning, Grant talked to the bus driver, and the situation escalated until the police were called.

The following afternoon, Grant said she received a phone call from Wilson telling her that day would be her daughters' last day at the school. Grant said she asked him multiple times during the phone call, which she recorded, if the bus incident was the reason the girls were being kicked out.

“He said no. He said the bus incident just shed a light on many problems that we have with you,” said Grant, who said Wilson said the school had been trying to work with the family and “be lenient,” but “we just feel like it's not a good fit.”

Grant said Wilson said she was committing adultery — going against the Ten Commandments — but she said since she’s never been married, that’s not true. Grant said Wilson also said it wasn’t a requirement for her to be married for her children to attend the school — she said many other parents at the school aren’t married — but it was a “strong recommendation.”

Grant said she felt ashamed and embarrassed by the conversation, but said she wasn’t surprised.

“I knew that's why he wanted my children out of the school,” she said.

Since then, Grant’s mother has been helping to watch the girls. Grant’s considering homeschooling her daughters for the rest of the school year, but she’s concerned they could lose their opportunity for private school scholarships.

Grant’s not sure if she wants her daughters, who she said have had no discipline issues and earn good grades, to return to the school. She wants them to be able to finish out the school year, but she doesn’t want them to be in an environment “they're honestly not welcome in.”

"I never want to dismember a school or tear a school down or anything like that, but I don't believe that this is right, and I feel like this man needs to know that he's wrong,” she said. “As a man of God, you're never supposed to turn your back on somebody who falls short. I just want him to know that this is not right."

 

Contact Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.