Gay Straight Alliances banned in Okeechobee by Mitch E. Perry

12/15/06

Earlier this week, the Hillsborough County School Board voted NOT to require students to get parental permission to join clubs on campus.

The discussion was initiated after controversy erupted last year over the creation of a gay-straight alliance at Newsome High School in Lithia. A parent group objected to such a club there, though similar clubs were in existence throughout the School District.

But whether students needed to get parents permission or not, there was never any question that Gay-Straight Alliances would continue.

That’s not the case in the central Florida community of Okeechobee County.

At Okeechobee High School, the principal, Toni Wiersma, has banned a gay-straight alliance club, refusing to allow the 50 member club to meet on the high school campus.

They are now being sued by one of those members, Yasmin Gonzalez.

She’s being represented by the ACLU of Florida. Robert Rosenwald is the ACLU’s lead counsel on the case He says the kids who wanted to form the GSA did everything by the rules to have a club, but were consistently met with denial by the principal (roll tape#1o.q.� abstinence only policy�)

That’s Robert Rosenwald…. Director of the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project, is lead counsel for the ACLU’s case, Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High v. School Board and Okeechobee High School

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