Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brody's Notes... Corpus Christi Texas School Board Reverses Decision To Ban All Extracurricular Clubs At School- Will Allow Gay-Straight Club On Campus

By Mark Singer (Washington DC) MAR 9 | The Corpus Christi, Texas, Flour Bluff Independent School District's board of trustees voted 4-2 late yesterday evening, with board members Wade Chapman and Steve Ellis opposed, to direct the schools Superintendent, Dr. Julie Carbajal, to temporarily permit all non-curriculum clubs to meet on campus including a proposed Gay-Straight Alliance that had touched off  a threat of a lawsuit against the school district by the Texas Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Spokesman and staff attorney, Manuel Quinto-Pozos, told reporters yesterday that the ACLU notified the school district that it had until Tuesday to approve Flour Bluff High School senior Bianca “Nikki” Peet’s request to form the club or face a legal challenge.
The decision came late Tuesday evening at around 11pm, after a nearly four hour closed executive session to discuss the potential legal challenge and issues.The board announced formation of a committee to reevaluate the district's 2005 policy for non-curriculum clubs which currently prohibits clubs unrelated to academics to meet on campus, the reason stated publicly for disallowing the Gay-Straight Alliance. 
“We’re committed to supporting all students in our community and I think this is the right way to do it,” board member Wally Graham said. “This is what we think is in the best interest of our students.”
The board indicated that the high school must allow the Gay-Straight Alliance club and the others to meet on campus by April 1st.
A Corpus Christi newspaper, The Daily Caller reported:
Sandy Jaime, a Flour Bluff High School graduate whose children attend school in the district, told the board that she thought the school’s actions discredited lessons about equality she’s tried to teach her children.
I’ve always taught my children that we are all equal no matter what,” she said. “I really felt that the high school principal took all that I’ve been teaching my children and threw it in the trash.”
Margaret Di Clemente said she wanted the board to approve the club so that the school district could be seen as inclusive instead of drawing attention to itself for not allowing the club.
It’s very important that the school not be a symbol of bigotry and hatred,” she said. “I feel the club would be a very positive thing for the high school. I don’t want my taxes supporting unequal access.”
Maria Peet, whose daughter sought to form the club and couldn't be at the meeting, told the board that the club would support gays and lesbians and offer support to straight students whose families are dealing with issues.
There are a lot of kids that need the club,” she said. “Flour Bluff might think that all their kids are straight. Well, they aren’t. We just need to open our eyes and admit that this is going on. This kind of club would actually help the kids be able to speak out.”