"The ACLU of Florida has sued the Nassau County school district today, contending that administrators illegally barred students from establishing a Gay-Straight Alliance at Yulee High and Yulee Middle.
The group claims that Nassau superintendent John Ruis sent a letter stating that groups mentioning a specific sexual orientation would not be approved.
"We just want the club so that straight and gay kids can get together to talk about harassment and discrimination against gay kids in an open environment. The school is discriminating against us and that's exactly the kind of thing we want to talk about and prevent," student plaintiff Hannah Page said in a press release. "Other clubs and groups are allowed to meet on campus and we have that right too."
The ACLU recently fought and won a similar case in Okeechobee County. It also has been involved in gay rights issues in Holmes County. The issue is hot enough to keep the ACLU so busy that it set up a Tampa branch of its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advocacy Project over the summer to fight the battle statewide."
Source: tampabay.com, February 10, 2009
We often preach openness, tolerance, and most of all, freedom of speech. And yet we cannot allow gay adolescents discuss their sexual orientation or in the case of straight students, their thoughts on the subject matter. How can we achieve the goal of a harmonious, pluralistic society if we continue to sweep such a subject matter back into the closet? What kind of message are we sending to gay (and straight) kids? Will the cycle of hatred continue in the absence of mutual understanding? If nothing else, the rising rate of teen suicide (Click here for a related blog entry) should be pause for reflection.