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Idaho bill to
require parental approval for GSAs

Idaho bill to
require parental approval for GSAs

A Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, legislator is sponsoring a bill to require that students get a parent's signature to join school clubs or organizations, just months after residents and parents in the area protested the gay-straight alliance at Lake City High School. "This bill allows parents to be more involved in their child's school activities," said Republican representative Bob Nonini, the bill's sponsor. "If we get them more involved, we'll get better students." The bill comes just months after community members protested and threatened to vote against the district's proposed levy if they didn't disband the gay-straight alliance. The levy failed last month. Many said that allowing the group is a statement by the school and district that homosexuality is moral and encouraged, but school officials said they couldn't stop the club from meeting because they don't disrupt the educational process. Since then, a similar club has formed at Sandpoint High School. Last week the house education committee passed Nonini's bill, which would require a parent's signature for their child to join any club or organization, reported the Coeur d'Alene Press. The measure is also being supported by North Idaho Pachyderm Club president Duane Rasmussen, who helped Nonini with the proposal after presiding over a heated meeting in January over the Lake City High School club. Rasmussen said the bill would encourage parents to have a greater awareness of the activities in which their children are involved. He said it's not specifically targeting the gay-straight alliance. A law requiring a parent's signature for participation in activities may put some students at risk, said the state's only openly gay legislator, Democratic representative Nicole LeFavour. She said students seek the club because they have been targeted with violence and harassment at school and sometimes at home because of their sexual orientation. "The support groups are sometimes the only means counselors have to keep them from the brink of suicide," LeFavour said. "It's estimated that one third of teens who commit suicide [nationwide] are struggling with their sexual orientation. A good chunk from Idaho are at serious risk if we pass something like this." (AP)

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