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School Board in Court for Banning Gay-Straight Alliance

Florida
School Board in Court for Banning Gay-Straight Alliance

Florida students Hannah Page and Jacob Brock have brought a court case against their school board in an attempt to rescind a ban on the gay-straight alliance they founded.

Florida students Hannah Page and Jacob Brock have brought a court case against their school board in an attempt to rescind a ban on the gay-straight alliance they founded. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the two students at Yulee High School argue that having such an organization on campus will encourage tolerance and help curb bullying toward LGBT students.

In U.S. district court in Jacksonville Thursday, Frank Sheppard, the attorney representing the Nassau County school board, countered ACLU attorney Robert F. Rosenwald's argument with the point that it is against board policy to allow student clubs to deal with sexual orientation. He also noted that the school has an abstinence-based sex education curriculum, the Associated Press reported. The school district has spent $326,000 on attorney fees to fight the formation of the alliance,

As arguments are being formulated, the key issue that has been presented is the use of "Gay-Straight Alliance" as the name of the organization. According to the school board, the name has connotations of sexual orientation, which is against school policy. Page argues that a name change would be detrimental to the very purpose of the group and that, in her opinion, the real problem is that "the school is ashamed of using the word 'gay' in this environment."

Judge Henry Adams Jr. gave both sides three days to present written arguments. In the meantime, the students have requested a temporary injunction that would allow them to meet. Adams has assured the school and students that he will rule on the injunction "as soon as I can." (Shannon Connolly, Advocate.com)

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