It seems a week doesn’t go by without hearing a story about how today’s kids are fighting for equal rights for gays and lesbians. Case in point: Students at Yulee High School in Nassau County Florida are suing the school over its refusal to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance and are getting a little help from the ACLU. The school will be hauled into court on March 6th and is arguing that it has no problem with a gay-straight alliance, so long as it does not use the words “gay” or “straight” in the name. The kids however, have no intention of renaming their group “Secret Happy Fun Time in the Closet Club.”
Florida’s WJXT-TV reports:
“Hannah Page, 15, is an openly gay high school freshman. Since middle school she has held hopes of forming a Gay-Straight Alliance with her friends. The goal of the alliance she said was to build awareness and reduce violence and harassment towards homosexuals.
“They have been harassed. They have been bullied. They’ve had food thrown at them. They’ve been spit on,” said Benetta Standly, of the Jacksonville ACLU.
On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Nassau County School Board.
Page and another teen, junior Jacob Brock, said the school is violating their rights under the Federal Equal Access Act.
“Under the Federal Equal Access Act, if a school district allows one extracurricular student club to meet, then it must allow all,” Standly said.
At the beginning of the school year, Page managed to organize and hold a Gay-Straight Alliance meeting that about eight students attended. Shortly after the meeting, her mother said the school shut down the club.
Superintendent John Ruis was unable to comment on Wednesday, but in a letter to ACLU attorneys, he wrote, “We were willing to let the proposed GSA meet on the condition that the name of the club was changed to prevent bullying and discrimination. A club name highlighting specific sexual orientations will not be permitted as it would violate school board policy.”