By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 08 2003 12:00 AM ET
A presentation from the office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services at Colorado State University won't be allowed during school hours at Elizabeth High School in Elizabeth, Colo. The student council had invited the members to speak about diversity and respect as part of Elizabeth High's "Respect Week." On Friday the school board, under pressure from parents, decided to move the session to 7 p.m. Monday, after school hours. That compromise fell apart, however, because the CSU speakers couldn't adjust their schedules on such short notice. District spokesman Mark Morgan said the session now will be held at a date and time yet to be determined. An African-American drum and dance group, a survivor of the Holocaust, and a "Together We Stand" rally scheduled for other times during the week drew no objections.
Opponents of the CSU presentation said they did not want their children exposed to what many called a gay and lesbian agenda, and many argued on points of religion and family values. "Parents were overwhelmingly against talking about this during school hours," said school board president Erica Smith, "and the board consensus was to move it to a nonacademic time."
The board's actions drew mixed reaction from students. "This board has been in a lot of hot water, and they did what they thought they had to do," said Elizabeth High senior and student council representative Jim Baron. Said Savannah Todd, also a senior: "I was personally disappointed with the decision and with the community. The vast majority of kids supported this. It was adults who opposed it. [Board member] Marcia Lyons stood her ground, but the others took the easy way out."