The Deputy Mayor of Encinitas and his husband are alleging that a local Christian school discriminated against their family for their sexuality after they inquired about enrolling their son into the school.
Joe Mosca — who was appointed to the Encinitas City Council last year and is the city's first openly gay council member — and his husband, Matt Bosse, reached out to Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach in December to inquire about their 10-year-old son, Garrett, possibly attending the school, beginning in seventh grade. Garrett is currently a fifth-grade, straight-A student at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School, where he will attend until he finishes sixth grade, his fathers said.
Mosca said he and his husband were originally attracted to Santa Fe for their curriculum, community and sports orientation. They were also referred to the school by friends who either attended the school or had children that attended the school. Garrett also played on a lacrosse team last year that was run by Santa Fe's coach.
When speaking with the admissions director, Bosse said the woman discouraged his family from applying to the school because his son had two fathers.
"She started asking questions initially about my son and what church we go to, which is fine," Bosse said. "We understand they're a Christian school. She asked me about the family and about my 'wife.' I said, 'I don't have a wife. I have a husband.' I asked if this would be a community that would be accepting of a family like ours. This was after she knew we went to church and that Garrett is a good kid with good grades, a Boy Scout and a lacrosse player. Once it came up that we were two dads, she made a comment to the effect of, 'The values that are taught at home are the values that we instill at school. We don't think your family would be accepted or a match for our school.'"
On its website, www.sfcs.net, Santa Fe Christian Schools states that its "rigorous academic curriculum is taught through a Biblical worldview in a rich, nurturing community of teachers, coaches, mentors and peers all passionate about serving Christ."
Admissions season for the school begins in October, and applicants must go through two rounds of applications, an entrance exam and family interview.
Jim Adare, the interim Head of School for Santa Fe Christian Schools, said the school's policy is to encourage "the family of any student committed to academic excellence and spiritual development to apply.” He declined to provide details on matters involving students or prospective students.
"As a matter of practice, we do not attempt to persuade or dissuade prospective families from applying," Adare continued. "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. This is our mission and our purpose, and a vital component of the SFCS experience.”
Adare declined to answer how many same-sex families there are at Santa Fe Christian Schools, which is privately funded through tuition, donations from its community and its endowment.
Bosse, who attended Christian learning institutions from elementary school through medical school, said Santa Fe's values are different from the religion in which he was raised.
He also said his family regularly attends St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, where Garrett is an altar boy.
"I just find it anything but Christian to discriminate against a family and a 10-year-old kid," Bosse said. "The only way to affect change is through families of students. If the community is happy with the status quo, then that's their prerogative."
Mosca, who attended Christian grade schools, said he and his husband are not looking to sue Santa Fe, but rather raise awareness about how the school can discriminate against families.
"We just feel like telling our story at this point," Mosca said. "We're hopeful that by telling our story, we can affect change. We're not interested in sending our son to this school. We're not interested in being punitive against the school or anything like that. It's obvious that it's probably not going to be a good fit. We wouldn't want our son to be subjected to any kind of discrimination or anything like that. ... The fact that they would discriminate against us is not in sync with our values. We do not support discriminating against people. We do not believe that that's in sync with Christian values."