A high school senior says the private Christian school in New Hampshire that he'd attended since kindergarten told him he was no longer welcome because of his gender identity and suggested he get counseling, the AP reports. Stiles Zuschlag, of Lebanon, Maine, tells Seacoast Media Group he'd excelled academically and in sports and had many friends at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth when he made it known in 2015 that he was transgender. He was on track to be valedictorian at the school this year, he says, before he and his mother met with the school administrator in August to talk about his transition from female to male. Zuschlag says the administrator, Paul Edgar, told him he was no longer welcome at the school, that he was "going down the wrong path," and that he should confess his sins and stop testosterone treatments.
The teen says he was told he couldn't return to the school campus but could consider options like homeschooling and Christian counseling. Zuschlag decided then to transfer to Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine, where he says he now feels accepted. He was nominated for "Prince of Homecoming" at his new school, and while he misses his old school, he's hopeful he can be who he is at Noble. "It's a big loss, I mean they lost a big student," he says. "[But] I'll just bring my excellence here. ... I'll just excel here." Edgar declined to speak about the ex-student, citing privacy issues. A spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Department of Education says Tri-City Christian Academy doesn't receive federal funds through the state office. A New Hampshire education attorney says religious schools can legally ask a student to leave regardless of whether the school receives federal funding. (Read more transgender stories.)