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Friday, March 11, 2011

Schools in WA State grant more access to LGBT clubs!

The Kennewick School Board took a small and cautious step toward giving gay-straight alliances more access to school campuses Wednesday, Tri-City Herald Reports. .

Gay-straight alliances are student clubs that seek to provide safety from harassment or bullying at school to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth, who are disproportionately targeted.

Currently, there are no such clubs at any Kennewick school.

There are GSAs in Pasco and Richland schools.

The clubs are not prohibited in Kennewick schools, but they don't have the same access to means of communication on campuses as do other clubs.

That inequality is against federal law, which is why the school board unanimously voted to develop a policy that treats all students clubs not related to curriculum the same. But the board couldn't agree on a temporary rule to bring school rules in line with the law until the new policy goes into effect in the fall.

After some discussion, the board delayed a vote on the temporary rule until its next meeting on March 23.

There are two clearly defined kinds of clubs -- those that directly relate to curriculum and those that don't. French and math clubs clearly do, for example. Pokemon and Ping-Pong clubs don't.

But in Kennewick, a decision was made some years ago to create two types of non-curricular clubs, said Superintendent Dave Bond at the meeting.

Clubs such as the chess club, Pokmon or Ping-Pong get access to the schools' bulletin boards and public-address systems. Others, including religious clubs such as Youth on Fire and nonreligious clubs such as GSAs, don't.

That was a big part of the reason why the GSA at Kamiakin High School failed, said board member Wendy London. Students simply didn't know it existed.

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