• U. S. Department of Education issues warning about banning gay-straight clubs at school

    Date: 07.06.11 | by Judge Tom.

    In 1984, Congress passed the Equal Access Act to prevent discrimination against religious groups in public schools. This federal law requires schools to treat all student-initiated groups equally. In other words, one club or organization is not to be favored or rejected over others or denied access to school resources. It’s an all or none approach to student clubs. A school may have a “no clubs” policy, but if they allow even one, others must be allowed access.

    Due to the increase in traditional bullying and cyberbullying in schools, LGBT students are forming gay-straight alliances, in part, to combat bullying and harassment. In June, 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote a letter to the nation’s public schools. He said, in part,  ”By encouraging dialogue and providing supportive services, these groups can help make schools safe and affirming environments for everyone.”

    Photo from ACLU.org

    Secretary Duncan further stated that “We intend for these guidelines to provide schools with the information and resources they need to help ensure that all students including LGBT and gender-nonconforming students, have a safe place to learn, meet, share experiences and discuss matters important to them.”

    Statistics indicate that students at schools with these clubs report less bullying and feel safer on-campus. Approximately 4000 gay-straight alliances are registered with GLSEN in New York.

    Although the law will be thirty years old in 2014, the battle continues against the formation of LGBT clubs. It still takes a school in compliance with the law.

    On the ACLU’s website is a section that provides students with advice about forming gay-straight alliances. See here for details.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    7 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Wed, 06 Jul 2011 at 08:17

      Bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated…regardless of who the victims are, bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Wed, 06 Jul 2011 at 04:55

      "By encouraging dialogue & providing supportive services, [gay-straight alliances] can help make schools safe &… http://fb.me/15YxRKL1l

    • Askthejudge.info
      Thu, 07 Jul 2011 at 12:44

      New blog post: U. S. Department of Education issues warning about banning gay-straight clubs at school http://ow.ly/1dEMPM

    • Davontae Sanford
      Thu, 07 Jul 2011 at 04:23

      New blog post: U. S. Department of Education issues warning about banning gay-straight clubs at school http://ow.ly/1dEMPM

    • Askthejudge.info
      Thu, 07 Jul 2011 at 05:13

      Thx for RT @JusticeDavontae U. S. Department of Education issues warning about banning gay-straight clubs at school http://t.co/l8ls150

    • Beth W.
      Sat, 30 Jul 2011 at 10:29

      I don’t want my children being exposed to that stuff at school.

    • Divorce Lawyers Tulsa
      Sat, 27 Aug 2011 at 06:52

      Freedom of speech!

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