Friday, July 21, 2006

Boone County High School in Florence, KY gives Gay-Straight Alliance a Green Light.

FLORENCE, KY (PRWEB) July 20, 2006 - Boone County High School has ended more four months of stonewalling and avoided a federal lawsuit by finally approving the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

The school's Site-Based Council unanimously approved the formation of the club at a meeting Wednesday night.

In June, the Kentucky Equality Association said in a letter to school administrators that LGBT students at Boone County High School were the victims of discrimination. The organization also said that the school's action may be illegal under the Kentucky Education Reform Act and threatened to go to court.

In its letter to the school the Kentucky Equality Association reminded it that the Federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSA’s as they would any other school group.

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

"It was both remarkable and wonderful to see various groups and organizations from two states in the same room to support such a wonderful cause; to make sure our gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and questioning teenagers have a school club were they are accepted, and can talk freely in a non-threatening environment," said Jordan Palmer, President of the Kentucky Equality Association in a statement following Wednesday night's vote.

Nick Herweck, the organizer of the GSA and a senior member of the Kentucky Equality Association had an unprecedented amount of support from organizations and groups across two states, including the
AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky University’s Pride Alliance, Northern Kentucky University’s Common Ground, Cincinnati’s Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a representative from Social Services, various community members, and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance filled the commons area of the school to support the formation of the Boone County High School Gay-Straight Alliance.

The Kentucky Equality Association invited Northern Kentucky University's Common Ground, as well as the Kentucky Fairness Alliance to the event.

GSA's 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.


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