CLASS ACTION

PA School District Votes Down GSA. LGBT Youth Group Promises Battle Isn’t Over

gay straight allianceOn Wednesday, a Central Pennsylvania school district voted 5-4 against the formation of a gay-straight alliance at a high school where LGBT students have been meeting informally for two years.

A vote by the Chambersburg Area School District in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, was originally scheduled for January, but was tabled. Students from Chambersburg Area Senior High School resubmitted their petition this week with requested revisions included and several adults willing to serve as advisors, but were they shot down.

“The Chambersburg Area School Board sent a disturbing message to their school community that essentially denies the existence of LGBT students,” remarked Jason Landau Goodman, director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC), a youth-run organization defending the rights of young LGBT people.

PSEC maintains that the Federal Equal Access Act of 1984 requires schools districts to either allow GSAs to form, just like other extra-curricular student club, or suspend all non-curricular activities. The group is willing to pursue legal action if the board doesn’t reconsider by its next meeting on March 27.

In 2012, two Central Pennsylvania school boards denied permission for GSAs, but later reversed their decisions.

Photo: GSA Network