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
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