The West Bend High School in West Bend, Wisconsin has rejected sponsoring a Gay-Straight Alliance, despite support from the community and the threat of legal action. Approval of school sponsorship for the GSA failed by a tied vote of 3-3 at the school board's meeting on Monday 5/9, despite the more than 100 people in attendance who supported school sanctioning.
Prior to the vote, attorneys did inform the district that they could face legal action for discrimination by not awarding club status to the GSA, which has been present in the West Bend schools since 2002. According to the district's criteria for clubs to be sponsored by the school, they must have a curricular tie, national or state affiliation, student appeal and a volunteer advisor, all of which the GSA has.
West Bend High School offers six courses in which LG+ issues are discussed, GSA Network is a nationwide effort, they have an advisor and students who attend the meetings. Without the club being acknowledged by the school district, the school is not required to allow them to meet inside of the building, they cannot use the school bulletin boards for notices, have a page in the yearbook, or hold fundraisers with a table in school hallways.
This is second- class citizenship displayed in a High School for all to see, and gives the students in the high school a clear message that this kind of treatment for people who are LG+ and the denial of a safe space for these students is okay in today's society.
Show them that they are wrong. Show that you support the students of the West Bend High Schools GSA.
By denying these students the opportunity to have a school-sponsored club, namely a Gay-Straight Alliance, you deny them the right to be treated as every other club in the school, and demean them based upon the nature of their club, being, mainly, that it is for LG+ students at your school. Doing this makes them into second class citizens in your school, and implies that this treatment of these students and their allies is something that is okay with community leaders.
This also shows clear discrimination against these students. We have signed this petition to show our support for what these students are asking for, and what they need, and that we believe that your decision to not allow them to have this club is wrong. What you have done is deny the youth a support group that they need, especially in a conservative district such as yours that has displayed intolerance on such a large scale.
Take the time to consider this letter and the people who stand with these youth, as well as the legal action being taken against your district when making a decision such as denying youth their basic, and legal rights.