Loading...
Welcome to Anarcho-Punk.net community ! Please register or login to participate in the forums.   Ⓐ//Ⓔ

i wanted to start a GSA at my school

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by bennion, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. bennion

    bennionActive Member Forum Member


    30

    0

    0

    Mar 2, 2010
     
    The Separation of Church and State in Utah: More Like a Guideline and Less Like the First Amendment

    By Jordan Palmer

    Bountiful, Utah—While here, on campus, Lakeside students are accustomed to an outspoken Gay, Lesbian or Whatever club, supported by faculty and students alike, just two states over there are students fighting against their administration for this same right. At South Davis Junior High in Bountiful, Utah, leading the fight for a Gay/Straight Alliance club is ninth-grade student, James Bennion. The struggle officially began late December, 2009 when he provided his Principal, Bryon Nielsen, and Vice Principal, Jeffrey Jorgensen, with a pro-GSA petition of one hundred twenty student signatures requesting the administration allow a GSA in the public Junior High. Bennion claims he was first told that Jorgensen would “see what he could do,” but after a week and no response, he checked back in on the matter and reports being told that not only had he missed the deadline in the first place, information he believes his Vice Principal deliberately withheld, but also that “there is a Supreme Court ruling over the Equal Access Act…that states you cannot have a Gay/Straight Alliance in Salt Lake or Davis County Public Schools.” According to Bennion, Vice Principal Jorgensen continued to say “you can’t have a club that would bring up controversy over this kind of matter, and students in the club would be immediately subject to bullying.” Jorgensen denies having made these statements, responding in an interview, that “I never said there was a Supreme Court ruling. I didn't think there was such a ruling. I think I was either misunderstood or misquoted by the student. We didn't allow the club at our school simply because there was not a faculty member willing to sponsor the club…As this student tried to appeal for the right to have the club, he still couldn't find a willing faculty representative.”

    The Supreme Court ruling in question is the October 6, 1999 East High Gay/Straight Alliance v. Board of Education hearing, where the GSA argued the existence of an unwritten policy banning the GSA from the school. Such a policy, they argued, would also violate the first and fourteenth amendments. The court decided in favor of the GSA, but in response to this, the East High School closed all co-curricular clubs to eliminate the possibility of a GSA.

    What this controversy ultimately comes down to, in Bennion’s opinion, is the strong bonds in his school between the administration and the Mormon Church. He feels that the homophobia among the student body is, in large part, accepted and even encouraged by the public Junior High School itself. James feels targeted for his efforts to start the GSA club; “once, in the middle of the commons, with no sensitivity at all, [Consumer Sciences teacher, June Presser] said ‘I’m just wondering, but I think the reason why you’re pushing the petition around is because you’re gay?’” and then soon after at a parent-teacher conference, she approached him again to apologize, explaining: “’I’m so sorry about what I asked you the other day, but you have to realize that [homosexuality is] against the plan for happiness and that it’s a sin…Even though you have these urges, even I have these urges, you must not act on them.’” In an interview with Presser, she admitted having said this, explaining: “I just think a GSA is an inappropriate thing for a school.” When James told his Vice Principal, Wendy Smock, about this experience, he says he was simply informed that “people are all entitled to their own opinions.”

    Bennion continues to provide evidence supporting that the only opinions people are entitled to at SDJH are Mormon-conservative, describing a sense of fear that he feels often prevents students and teachers from going against the current. In Seminary, students leave school to attend class on church property to learn “scriptures, God’s plan for [them],” and in many of these sermons, “fear tactics to keep students from being gay.” James says that they’re often taught things like: “The Church leader [in Seminary] told us that one day, [he] was walking down the street and a gay man followed him home and started banging on his door…this is definitely one of the fear tactics they use to make us think that homosexual people are rapists and perverts.” When asking teachers for classroom space to hold the GSA club meetings after school hours, James says that all refused “because they were afraid of losing their jobs or getting into trouble.” He explains that he is alone in his fight against the administration because while there are a lot of students who feel the same way, they don’t speak out because “they don’t want to get in trouble with their parents and their church leaders.” He adds that, “there’s two liberal teachers [at SDJH] who stay very repressed, but I don’t want to mention their names because I don’t want to get them fired.” No teacher responded to a request for their comments on the matter.

    Bennion, frustrated but still fighting for the club, explains: “I want a Gay/Straight Alliance club at South Davis Junior High because as you walk through the halls of my school, you hear things like ‘fag’ and ‘that’s so gay’, and [homosexuality is] viewed as a terrible thing…I would like to have another voice at our school besides the Mormon-conservative voice. I would like to see some, if not all, of the bias and hatred towards gay people end. My counselor told me ‘James, that’s just the culture we live in and you just have to accept that and try to live around it’…there’s really no organization for the students who want change, so they just feel oppressed and try to change themselves to fit in. It’s terrible.”
     

  2. punkmar77

    punkmar77Administrator Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


    5,440

    82

    621

    Nov 13, 2009
     United States
    Dont give up James, fuck those homophobic Luddites. It only takes one very stubborn person to shine a light into a dark corner, just be sure your willing to be strong enough to absorb all the negative bullshit that will come your way.
     
  3. bennion

    bennionActive Member Forum Member


    30

    0

    0

    Mar 2, 2010
     
    i say bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


    4,295

    43

    23

    Aug 21, 2009
    Male, 32 years old
    Canada Canada
  5. New Face In Hell

    New Face In HellExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


    229

    0

    0

    Jan 22, 2010
     
    Gay-Straight Alliance
     
  6. stinagen

    stinagenExperienced Member Experienced member


    64

    0

    0

    Dec 6, 2009
     
    absorb hate produce peace and understanding
     
  7. Mandi

    MandiActive Member Forum Member


    41

    0

    0

    Apr 4, 2010
     
    Glsen would probably be able to help
     
  8. raindeer667

    raindeer667Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


    171

    0

    0

    Oct 10, 2009
     
    hi, just south of you near the four corners territory...

    full support, plus attempting to get an indigenous group set up too, not set on skin tone...
     
  9. raindeer667

    raindeer667Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


    171

    0

    0

    Oct 10, 2009
     
    a really good newspaper to read from utah is the canyon country zephyr outta moab...

    get leaflets flowing, and organize with the group... take care.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - wanted start GSAForumDate
Drummer Wanted (Switzerland / South Germany)Musician Forum & Band PromotionAug 22, 2019
Discrimen from Spain, tape wanted..Music, punk scene & subculturesJul 13, 2019
Wanted Rare video shows noise rock,punk,industrial from videotapesMusic videos & Live showsJan 31, 2018
Jauría - Lost CD-r recordings Wanted! Se busca CD-rREQUESTSJan 31, 2017
Wanted industrial,noise rock,experim,punk rare vid shows...REQUESTSJul 12, 2016