School Faces Lawsuit After Rejecting "Gay- Straight" Club on Campus
It's called "gay straight alliance" or GSA, a group of gay and lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered students, and their straight friends, who work together to bring an end to anti-gay bias on campus.
However, the administration at Vanguard High School in Ocala, is refusing to recognize the group as a club, and now the district is being sued as a result.
On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Marion County School Board.
Paul Jarvis, who lives across the street from the school, is against the GSA.
"If you can't go the right way, don't go at all," he said.
In March, a group of gay and straight Vanguard students tried making their GSA club official, but were denied.
"It's unfair," said one student, who says she's bisexual.
"It's just to have people around you that understand where you're coming from, or know what it's like to be gay," she said.
The ACLU claims the school is violating the students' rights to free speech and free association, as well as the Federal Equal Access Act.
"We want a safe place, where we can get together, and talk about bullying, and talk about discrimination, and find solutions to these problems on campus, and they have a right to do that," said Baylor Johnson, ACLU of Florida spokesperson.
The school board attorney, Bill Haldin, could not be reached for comment.
"I don't think people should judge anyone for what they, do, and if that's what they want to do, then, let them do it," said Patricia Blanchard, an Ocala resident.
The ACLU says at this point, the ball is in the school board's court.
They say in 2008, the ACLU won a similar case on behalf of a GSA in Okeechobee.
In 2009, a judge in Nassau county ordered the school district to allow a GSA at Yulee High School to hold meetings.
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