Originally published on Advocate.com July 18 2003 12:00 AM ET
Boyd County school officials in Kentucky have drafted a policy allowing a student gay rights group to meet after school but not as a school-sponsored club. School board member Teresa Cornette said the policy would allow only curriculum-based clubs to meet during school hours and have faculty sponsors.
The board and its attorneys developed the policy in response to a lawsuit by Boyd County High School's gay-straight alliance. The suit claims the school violated the federal Equal Access Act by barring the alliance from meeting on school grounds while allowing other noncurricular groups to do so. The alliance and other noncurricular clubs would be allowed to meet outside school hours. They would have to complete the same application used by other outside groups such as the Boy Scouts, Cornette said.
The board will vote Monday on the proposal. The policy doesn't list which clubs are considered curriculum-based. It defines the term, but Cornette said she did not have a copy of the policy yet and wasn't sure of the definition. A spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on the alliance's behalf, didn't know if the ACLU would object to the policy. "To some extent, it will depend on what they try to say are curricular clubs," spokeswoman Chris Hampton said. "All along they've had this unusual definition of what curricular and noncurricular clubs are that is not in line with case law and what the judge has told them."
Board attorneys have asked U.S. district judge David Bunning to lift the injunction permitting the alliance to continue meeting at the school until the case is settled. If the board felt the right policy was in place, it may ask the court to remove the injunction because it would no longer be needed, board
attorney Kimberly McCann said. Settlement talks fell through earlier this month. There are no immediate
plans for further talks, though both sides have said they'd be open to further discussion.