According to an ACLU press release, Flour Bluff student Nikki Peet asked school administrators for permission to form a Gay-Straight Alliance last fall. They eventually declined, claiming it was school policy not to allow extra-curricular clubs to meet on campus. The ACLU countered that many extra-curricular clubs were still allowed to meet, and demanded that Flour Bluff treat all clubs equally by a deadline of March 9. Flour Bluff responded by trying to drive all clubs off-campus — the ACLU says this step "is an unlawful prior restraint on Nikki's speech, similar to a Mississippi school district's efforts to cancel the prom in the ACLU's case on behalf of Constance McMillen." And Peet says, "I am shocked and disappointed that my school district would rather punish students by eliminating extra-curricular clubs than allow the formation of a club whose entire purpose is to promote tolerance."
Sadly, we're not shocked. South Carolina's Dorchester District 2 tried exactly such a ploy last month, and although the district eventually voted to keep clubs, it's clear that schools around the country feel threatened enough by the concept of a Gay-Straight Alliance that they're willing to take drastic action. Supporters of LGBT rights at Flour Bluff are taking action too, though — they're protesting outside the school today, with Peet expected to join them when she finishes class in the afternoon. A few counter-protesters have shown up too, including a local talk radio host, who says, "I'm here because I think it's disgusting that grown men who may be perverts or may be sex deviants are standing at a high school with signs that say 'I'm proud to be queer, it's okay to be queer.' That is not what school is for."
GSA supporter Ashley White counters, "I think with the counter protesters, it will just bring more publicity to the event. And, the more publicity there is for the event, then more good is going to come out of it." And ACLU attorney Manuel Quinto-Pozos says, "Although we hope Flour Bluff ISD will remedy this problem immediately by allowing the GSA to meet, we are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to vindicate Nikki's and other students' rights." We too hope that Flour Bluff decides to treat all its students equally — rather than joining the sadly long list of schools that have gone to ridiculous extremes to keep LGBT youth from exercising their rights.
ACLU Demands Flour Bluff High School Allow Gay Straight Alliance [ACLU]
Protesters On Both Sides Of Gay, Lesbian Club Debate Arrive At Flour Bluff [Caller.com]
Supporters Of Gay-Straight Alliance Protesting Outside FBHS [KZTV]
Flour Bluff ISD's Opposition To Gay-Friendly Club Sparks Protests [KRIS-TV]