Franklin County school board turns down Gay-Straight Alliance

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Mar 1, 2013 4:00 AM
Rainbow flag, gay rights

(Chambersburg) -- A Franklin County school board has turned down a proposal to form a Gay-Straight Alliance Club, and a club supporter thinks it could prompt legal action against the district.

The Chambersburg Area School Board Wednesday voted five-four against the group, which bills iteslf as a student-run organization that provides a safe place to socialize for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students -- and their straight supporters.

A representative from the club who wishes to remain anonymous tells witf news a group of about a dozen students has been meeting after classes at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, so it sought official recognition from the school board.

"The students see a real need for it," the supporter says.

The representative says litigation against the district could be on the horizon from advocacy groups.

"What I would say is unfortunate for the district is that powers outside of the club will come in," the supporter says. "You're looking at national organizations coming in and saying, 'this is not fair.'"

School board member Carl Barton, who voted against the club, says the Gay-Straight Alliance Club's objectives are similar to those of an existing club, called the Multi-Cultural Club.

"We have a club that talks about diversity. We've had it for several years," Barton says.

He says he's concerned about all types of bullying, and says it would be "unfortunate" if the board's decision is construed as discriminatory.

"We have actually worked to reduce the number of clubs we have," Barton says.

He adds that a "good management practice" is to review clubs.

The Chambersburg Area School District website lists more than 30 clubs at the high school.

There are Gay-Straight Alliance has chapters in several midstate schools, including Shippensburg and Waynesboro in Franklin County.

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