Let’s say you’re a high school administrator who wants to make sure a Gay Straight Alliance group can’t form. (How *dare* those students act like homosexuality is acceptable?!)
At a public school, it’s illegal to ban that one group alone. So what can you legally do?
Ban every single club at the school, of course.
That’s what a superintendent and school board in Clovis, New Mexico planned to vote on last night:
The chess and key clubs, Future Farmers of America, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other student clubs at Clovis High School likely would be dissolved under a proposed policy that some say is really targeted at a student gay-straight alliance.
The Clovis school board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the policy, which would eliminate all noncurricular clubs and activities at Clovis High.
Clovis Superintendent Terry Myers denied the alliance request is related to the policy vote.
To get a little more specific, here’s the current policy for after-school clubs:
The Superintendent may approve the establishment of student organizations appropriate to grade levels within the District.
Here’s what it could be changed to:
The Board of Education establishes a “closed forum” for the secondary schools of the School District. Only student organizations which are “curriculum-related” shall be approved and allowed to meet during “non-instructional time”.
Ugh. What an awful thing to do.
Superintendent Terry Myers says this vote has nothing to go with the proposed GSA group, but another source says otherwise.
Check out what one reader said in an email:
My mother is a teacher at this high school and overheard one of the board members say “…if this doesn’t pass they’ll want to set up one of those evil Atheist clubs”.
I can’t verify that, but it goes right along with the mentality of these kinds of bigots. If students want to get together to discuss a view they don’t approve of, they’ll do anything to put a stop to it, even if it means shutting down after-school Christian clubs.
It’s a horrible idea. Non-curricular clubs are one of the best things about a high school education. As one commenter says here:
Kids who are actively involved in clubs are more responsible, more motivated, and more likely to have high self-esteem. It doesn’t matter what club it is, whether A/V club, glee club, cooking club or being apart of the football team. It is a valuable way for kids to be active and constructive in their community. Clubs, like art club, and student government can give kids the opportunity to acquire college scholarships and grants.
This conversation is not about gay rights, or advocating the ‘homosexual agenda’ it is about whether or not Clovis High School wants to provide the best education for their students.
Any school board that would choose to shut down non-curricular groups are hurting the students. And they should be voted out of their seats as soon as possible.
(Thanks to Bill for the link)
***Update***: The board unanimously voted to ban all non-curricular clubs from meeting during school, but it will allow approved groups to meet before or after school.
I haven’t had a chance to look more into this update, but on the surface, it looks ok to me. The GSA isn’t banned. Neither is the Christian club. Non-academic clubs like those will just meeting outside of school hours. Frankly, I thought that’s what they already did. (When would they meet during school hours?) If anyone can provide more insight into this, it’d be very helpful.