June 1, 2006

Kentucky School Accused Of Dragging Feet On Gay Club

A Kentucky LGBT civil rights group is urging a Florence high school to stop delaying the approval of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

The Kentucky Equality Association said Thursday that LGBT students at Boone County High School are the victims of discrimination. The organization also said that the school's action may be illegal under the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

In a letter to the school the Association reminded it that the Federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSAs as they would any other school group.

Included in the letter was an information packet about GSAs entitled Just the Facts that has been endorsed by a number of professional groups including the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Psychological Association.

While the school has delayed making a decision on whether it will allow a GSA to organize it has approved 16 other clubs including one dedicated to the animated cartoon, Anime.

A GSA provides a place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation, and work to end homophobia. Many GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

GSAs are in schools across the country. In areas where school boards have attempted to block them Federal courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of the students. Recent cases were in Utah, California and Indiana.

In 2004 a Federal judge ruled in favor of students that wanted to organize a GSA in another Kentucky community. As part of the settlement to end the case the Boyd County school district agreed to establish required anti-harassment training for all students.

Last March a judge ruled that students opposed to homosexuality could not opt out of the course.

Boone County High School has not replied to the most recent allegations from the Kentucky Equality Association.


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