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Parents seek to shut down gay-straight high school alliance

Parents seek to shut down gay-straight high school alliance

A group of parents in Mandeville, La., is asking the St. Tammany Parish school board to disband the Fontainebleau High School's recently formed Gay-Straight Alliance. The club, which, according to its Web site, fosters an exchange of ideas between gay and straight students, met school requirements when it formed earlier last month. Fearing legal repercussions because of the Equal Access Act, the school system had given the go-ahead for the club to begin meeting. "The sanctioning of the [club] is well-intentioned, but it is fundamentally wrong," said the Reverend Ken Schroeder, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mandeville and a parent of a former Fontainebleau student. "By sanctioning this club, you're granting immoral behavior a standing it should not have in any community." After hearing complaints from about 30 parents at a Tuesday night meeting in Covington, the school board took no immediate action but promised to investigate. The parents presented a recent federal court case from Texas, which ruled in favor of a school system that refused to let a similar club form at a high school in Lubbock in 2002. Earlier this month, U.S. district judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock ruled against the club. Cummings said his ruling is "an assertion of a school's right not to surrender control of the public school system to students and erode a community's standard of what subject matter is considered obscene and inappropriate." Though the club's intentions sound noble, some parents said, they worry that the goal is to advance a national "gay agenda." "They accomplish this by gaining a foothold in our nation's schools through the establishment of student-led clubs to propagandize legitimacy for the homosexual lifestyle," said Scott Lester, one of four parents who spoke at Tuesday's meeting.

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