Aug. 4, 2006 – A federal judge has ruled that a Georgia high school must allow a group of students to hold meetings of their gay-straight alliance club on campus. The decision capped the studentsâ€™ lengthy struggle to launch their organization against rancorous opposition from both youth and adults in the community.
- Gay-Straight Student Group Fights for Equal Treatment (Jun 21, 2006)
As previously reported by The NewStandard, the school administration at White County High School in Cleveland, GA shut down all on-campus extracurricular activities in an attempt to block the club from campus without violating anti-discrimination statutes. A group of White County students filed a lawsuit earlier this year with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union to push the school to permit the club to meet on campus. They had argued that administrators were selectively enforcing the ban on school clubs.
On July 14, the Northern Georgia federal district court issued a permanent injunction against the school, ordering the administration to give the gay-straight alliance club, known as PRIDE, access to school facilities. The court found that under the schoolâ€™s policy of barring all extracurricular clubs from campus, students â€œwere denied equal access and a fair opportunity to conduct meetings on school premises.â€�
In their legal complaint, the students argued that they have endured anti-gay discrimination and abuse from peers, school administrators and faculty. The club itself, which sought to foster greater understanding of queer sexuality and identity, was a response to what they viewed as systematic mistreatment.
The lawsuit is the latest of several brought in recent years against local school administrations that have attempted to squelch gay-straight alliance clubs. In response to challenges by youth and civil liberties advocates, courts have consistently ruled in favor of the students.