New York, NY
- The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, today applauds the Boyd County Board of Education in Kentucky for reaching a settlement with a group of local students that sued the board after their gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Boyd County High School in Ashland, KY, was forced to disband.
The settlement, reached with guidance from the ACLU, requires that the district treat all student clubs equally, continuing a trend seen in school districts throughout the country where challenges have been made to the federal Equal Access Act which gives specific guidelines on student clubs in schools. At the same time, the settlement mandates annual anti-harassment training sessions for all district staff as well as for students in high schools and middle schools throughout the district.
“The Boyd County Board of Education today upheld that all student clubs, from the Chess Club to the Christian Athletes Society to a GSA devoted to ending violence in schools, must be allowed to meet,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “The reality is these students are only working to end bias, hatred and violence in the halls of their schools, and we applaud the school board for supporting their efforts and meeting the requirements of equal access as required by federal law.”
In December 2002, the Boyd County Board of Education took the extraordinary step of suspending all student clubs in every K-12 school in the district in an effort to prevent a group of students from forming a GSA at Boyd County High School. School officials claimed that disruption at the school caused by those objecting to the GSA justified suspending the club. Last April, a federal judge issued an injunction ordering that the GSA be allowed to meet and noted that schools cannot silence students who hold unpopular views just because other students or community members protest against them.
According to GLSEN’s 2003 National School Climate Survey, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in schools with GSAs were more likely to report feeling safe in school than students whose schools do not have a GSA.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, continue to visit our website.