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Georgia officials vote to cut school clubs to block gay-straight alliance

Georgia officials vote to cut school clubs to block gay-straight alliance

A White County, Ga., schools subcommittee recommended cutting all clubs in the school system months after students tried to form a gay support group. The subcommittee suggested that all extracurricular clubs be replaced with a system of clubs sponsored and led by local adults. The northeast Georgia county gained attention in February when students, led by Kerry Pacer, who was profiled in a recent issue of The Advocate, tried to form a gay-straight alliance for gay classmates and supportive students. The school board agreed to allow the students to start the club, but later school administrators recommended eliminating all noncurricular clubs at White County High School. At the time, superintendent Paul Shaw said the policy change had been in the works for months. "Clubs have not lived up to what they are supposed to be doing, and the legislature is requiring that we do additional paperwork and things of that sort," Shaw said. "Plus, we want to focus on academics this coming school year." Prompted by the White County drama, parent groups pushed the state board of education to back a proposal that would require students to get permission from their parents to join high school clubs. The proposal, which was defeated in a 10-3 vote, would have required students to get a signed notice to join any of the 100 or more clubs that some schools offer.

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