A charter school in North Carolina has temporarily suspended all clubs just to prevent an LGBT student group from meeting.
It’s happening at Lake Lure Classical Academy (a charter school that receives taxpayer funding), where students formed a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Club, something they have every right to do.
They have that right because of the Equal Access Act, which has been in effect for decades now. The EAA says that if a public high school allows any extra-curricular clubs, then administrators must allow all of them (within reason). While it was initially a way to get Christian clubs in schools, it has been used to defend Gay-Straight Alliances and Secular Student Alliance groups as well.
In this case, though, the mere existence of LGBT people has offended some Christians.
One grandmother said she had to explain the meaning of “gay” and “lesbian” to her elementary school student because the club put up a poster.
Another citizen told the board since it is a public school it has the ability to do away with the club. He said he did not have a child at Lake Lure, but if he did he would take them out immediately. He said the only diversity the school needs is the Bible.
How hard is it to explain a couple of definitions to a child?
Here: “Gay” means you like someone of the same sex. A “lesbian” is a gay woman.
You’re welcome, grandma.
You might think no one has to pay any attention to those people, but the combination of ignorance and religion permeated the latest board meeting. A local pastor, Anton Roos, said that the Raptors for Christ Club at the school wasn’t allowed to put up a poster. However, the advisor for the club, who happened to be at the meeting, pointed out that wasn’t true. It’s just another myth that the pastor believes.
At this point, all the board had to do was tap those Christians on their heads, say “there, there,” and sit them back down. Instead, they decided to shut down all clubs at the school while they sort this out:
After the discussion, board member Mike Harrington made the motion the school suspend all club activity until it can seek legal counsel on club protocol. He said he was disappointed that he knew nothing about the issue until the meeting and that was bad management on the school and board’s behalf.
“This topic of clubs has created a strong difference of opinions in the LLCA family and it concerns me greatly because this is a school of choice,” Harrington said. “I didn’t like coming into this meeting and being blindsided, I didn’t know anything about this issue until today. This situation is bad management on our part and there is work that needs to be done.“
Bad management is right. You don’t need advance warning when it comes to the question of whether clubs promoting human rights should be allowed to meet at school. That’s a no-brainer. (In Harrington’s case, literally so.)
The decision to shut down the clubs passed on a 5-3 vote.
That means the National Honor Society and Chess Club can’t meet because grandma and the school board think gay students have cooties.
Unless the school wants to deal with a lawsuit, we know how this will end. The LGBT group will be allowed to meet and advertise and do everything the Christian club can do. That’s how the law works.
If grandma doesn’t like it, she can send her kids to a Christian school where her flavor of bigotry is acceptable.