The ACLU of Florida has filed suit on behalf of students at Okeechobee High School whose attempts to organize a Gay-Straight Alliance club at their school was refused by the administration. Like all such cases, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. The Equal Access Act clearly requires public secondary schools to recognize such student clubs, as numerous courts have ruled already. And when you read the sentiments of the students who organized the club, it becomes clear that this is exactly the kind of moral (yes, moral) stance that the schools ought to be encouraging.
According to students, anti-gay harassment and discrimination are serious problems at Okeechobee High School (OHS). Unfortunately, school officials have made the problem worse by discriminating against LGBT students. Students Yasmin Gonzalez, Amber Sewell and Erica Rodriguez, among others, decided to form the GSA to discuss problems caused by anti-gay bias at OHS after school officials refused to allow Gonzalez and her girlfriend to attend the prom as a couple. They hope the GSA will promote equality and open-mindedness among students, administrators and staff of the High School.
“Straight kids cannot turn our backs on the plague of violence and discrimination against gay and lesbian students,” said Amber Sewell, one of the club’s founders and straight members. “When we (students) aren’t safe, we can’t learn. Only when we stand together will we find a solution.”
The GSA, which meets at a local restaurant, has elected officers and adopted a constitution. The GSA now has approximately 50 members.
“The purpose of the GSA is to provide a safe, supportive environment for students to talk about anti-gay bias, harassment, and violence and to work together to promote tolerance, understanding and acceptance of one another, regardless of sexual orientation,” said GSA President Yasmin Gonzalez.
Hear, hear. The full ACLU complaint can be found here.