Kentucky school hasn't decided on appeal

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 22 2003 11:00 PM ET

The Boyd County school board in Ashland, Ky., has yet to decide whether to appeal a recent ruling by a federal judge that ordered it to permit a gay-straight alliance group to meet at its high school. The board deliberated in a closed session Monday night but came to no decision on the appeal, a board member said.

Last week U.S. district judge David Bunning granted the American Civil Liberties Union's request for an injunction to give the group equal access at Boyd County High School. The ACLU was representing seven students who filed suit against the school district. The ACLU had argued that a ban on all school club meetings was an unconstitutional attempt to shut out students who had formed a gay-straight support group.

Board member Sheri Bryan said the board met in the closed session for an hour and 45 minutes, though she wouldn't comment on the discussions. "We just talked about [Bunning's] ruling," Bryan said. She said the board made no plans for more talks--before the next school board meeting on May 5--to further discuss an appeal. Superintendent Bill Capehart could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Bunning said the Boyd County school district must treat the gay-straight group no differently than its Bible club, whether that would mean allowing announcements to be posted or publishing meeting times in the campus newspaper.

Capehart said on Monday that with the school year winding down an appeal might not be feasible. "School is out in six weeks," he said. "I just don't know if there's time in this school year to do the appeal."

A site-based council at Boyd County High School agreed in October to allow the alliance to meet, but after some parents and church groups protested, the school board in December suspended all clubs at the school.

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