Judge Rules in Favor of Florida Gay Straight Alliance
A federal judge ruled Monday that the Gay-Straight Alliance at Yulee High School in Yulee, Florida, must be permitted to meet on campus and be granted the same privileges as other student clubs. The judge also ruled that the Nassau County School District must not retaliate against individuals involved in the lawsuit or in the organization, reports Jacksonville News.
Two students filed the lawsuit against the Nassau County School District in February after officials said the Gay-Straight Alliance could not meet unless it changed its name. According to the Advocate, the officials claimed that the group's name could be disruptive to school activity and violated the district's abstinence-only policy. The judge dismissed these claims and ruled that the district cannot force the group to change its name or prevent the group from meeting on school property.
LGBT Advocacy Project Director of the Florida ACLU Robert Rosenwald hailed the judge's decision and praised the two students who initiated the lawsuit. "These courageous students took a stand to address the problem and the school policies that exacerbate it. Hopefully, Nassau school administrators will follow their students' example and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem," said Rosenwald in a press release.
Student plaintiff Hannah Page also sued the school district for preventing her from creating a Gay-Straight Alliance at Yulee Middle School. The judge did not rule on this issue since Page is no longer a student at the middle school, but the Florida ACLU plans to move forward with her case.
Media Resources: Jacksonville News 8/12/09; Advocate 8/11/09; ACLU Press Release 8/10/09