TN School Figures Out A Way To Stop GSAs—Have Teachers Refuse To Sponsor Them

When Sequoyah High School senior Nathan Carroll tried to find a teacher to sponsor a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at his school, all the teachers said they were too busy. He met twice with the principal to no avail and so he decided to start a school petition that eventually got 150 signatures from his school’s approximately one-thousand students. But when another student started a petition against Carroll’s GSA, the principal announced that he would destroy any petitions and punish students caught with them, as they “disrupt the educational environment.” There’s a sick genius to his logic.

Most schools make the mistake of outright forbidding GSAs because of their supposed focus on sex, but instead Sequoyah is playing a procedural game that will keep them from being accused of discrimination: you need a faculty sponsor to start a club; if there’s no teacher, no club. Trying to start one via petition is a pointless breach of school policy, and disrupts the learning environment. Do it and we’ll punish you. Have a nice day.

We’re kinda astounded that not even the theater teacher or women’s soccer coach have agreed to sponsor the group. It would require a few extra hours each week at most and do a lot to expose Sequoyah High School’s apparently thriving homophobia. Could the school have implied that teachers should not support such clubs? And what’s the best way to beat this troubling new tactic? Hmmm….