If we’re talking about gay kids and high school, it must be time to identify yet another American outpost that’s refusing to let kids form a gay-straight alliance. Please get your touchscreen maps ready and begin to zoom in on Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, where some 1,820 show up for classes every day. Among them is Bianca “Nikki” Peet, a senior who claims the school’s Principal James Crenshaw has exploited all possible loopholes to keep her from forming a GSA.
Peet’s campaign to create a GSA began as early as November, and on Monday it’s headed to the next step: an organized protest outside Flour Bluff to demand Crenshaw grant permission for the club. Peet says she even agreed to change the name of the club and make it not specific to gay students after Crenshaw voiced his concerns, but still he won’t approve the GSA. How come?
District officials issued a statement Wednesday that said it supports cultural diversity and reaffirmed a policy that gives school officials discretion on clubs. Officials said the district, according to its policy approved in 2005, is not subject to the part of the Equal Access Act requiring the school to offer fair opportunities for students to form student-led extracurricular groups, regardless of their religious, political and philosophical leanings. Non-curriculum student groups exist at Flour Bluff High School, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Peet has the support of Gay-Straight Alliance at Texas A&M University, whose president Pete Rodriguez says, “Unfortunately it’s starting to look like the bullying is coming from administration, instead of students.” It’s Rodriguez who’s issued the ultimatum to Crenshaw that he has until Monday to approve the GSA, or the protest will move forward, as will possible legal action.
Under the Equal Access Act, schools with limited open forums allowing students to meet on campus during noninstructional time can’t deny access to students based on the content of the speech in those meetings. Flour Bluff ISD’s policy does not have a limited open forum.
“We’re not gonna give up!They have great strategies, but I think we are all uniting and it’s so beautiful. I’ve never seen this much support,” says Peet. We’re with ya, Nikki. And I think our readers are too. Principal Crenshaw’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The school’s phone number is (361) 694-9100. More contact info here.