ACLU Condemns School Board for Blocking Gay-Straight Club at a Southern California High School
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES — The ACLU of Southern California today condemned the Board of Education of the Orange Unified School District for refusing to allow the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at El Modena High School.
“The school board’s disingenuous attempt to couch this as a sex education or curriculum issue has no merit,” said ACLU Associate Director Elizabeth Schroeder. “The district will not succeed in its efforts to pick and choose which student clubs to fund.”
“The board should be spending taxpayers’ money on educating students, not on fighting lawsuits that they know they will lose,” she added.
By denying the formation of the Gay-Straight Alliance, the board is in clear violation of the freedoms of expression and association that are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by parallel articles in the California Constitution, the ACLU said.
The board’s refusal could also have a significant impact on the district’s eligibility for federal education funds under a statute that prohibits public schools from discriminating against student clubs on the basis of a club’s philosophical or political viewpoint.
“School systems should make public commitments to ensure that schools are safe places, free of discrimination, violence, and harassment for all students, including gay and lesbian youth,” Schroeder said. “Fear, isolation and loneliness lead many gay and lesbian teens to suicide. The creation of this club would give these students a life-saving support system.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in Smart Justice
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About Smart Justice
The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.