Press Room

April 13, 2005

Category: Schools

Georgia School Board Rejects Extracurricular Activity Bill That Threatened Well-Being of Students

'Thanks to the school board the door is still open for students to attend clubs vital to their well-being,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign celebrated the 11-1 vote yesterday by the Georgia State Board of Education defeating a proposal that would have required parental permission for students to participate in any extracurricular activity. HRC joined Georgia Equality in expressing concern that students would be dissuaded from joining groups like Gay-Straight Alliances if they were required to disclose their identities to parents before they were ready.

"Thanks to the school board the door is still open for students to attend clubs vital to their well-being," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

"The motives behind this amendment were clear - to deny GLBT students what they need to have a safe and constructive dialogue with their peers about bias and harassment in schools. These clubs also give students the tools they need to talk to their parents openly and honestly. With GLBT teens disproportionately at risk for suicide, state legislators should know better than to put up roadblocks that threaten their safety."

Superintendent of Education Kathy Cox proposed the rule after state Sen. Nancy Shaefer, a strong supporter of the Christian Coalition, proposed similar legislation in the state Senate. HRC alerted more than 7,000 Georgians about this rule, encouraging them to attend a public hearing and call the state board of education.

"Gay-Straight Alliances are an important resource toward making schools a safe place for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity," said Darren Fenwick, an HRC public policy associate. "We were proud to team up with Georgia Equality and other allies in this effort to beat back a discriminatory measure."