Meridian School District Adopts New Student Club Policy

It looks like a year-long struggle over a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Meridian’s Mountain View High School maybe over.  In a decision that not only paves the way for other Gay-Straight Alliances throughout the district but  protects other clubs as well, the Meridian School Board has approved a new student club policy that doesn’t contain two controversial clauses.

Krista Perry, Co-Chair of the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition said yesterday in a joint press release from Lambda Legal and the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition that, “”The safety and well-being of LGBT students, who are often targeted for bullying, must come first.  We commend the District for recognizing that.”

The issue appeared on the School Board’s radar after students at Mountain View attempted to form a GSA club in December.  Board members at the time said approval of the club’s application would violate a policy banning clubs that “advocates or approves sexual activity outside of marriage”.

After receiving a letter from Lambda Legal and the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, the district amended their policy regarding student clubs, but created two clauses that remained a cause for alarm for equality advocates.

The first, a clause that required parental consent in order for a student to join a club, the second was a clause that would have created a “tier system” when it comes to school clubs. Under the purposed policy change, there would have been those clubs officially sanctioned by the school, such as a marketing club.  Other “non class connected” clubs like the GSA would have been considered unofficial.  Those clubs would still have been able to meet on campus but would not have received the same recognition, funding, or support of the first tier clubs.

“After hearing student testimony at a September meeting about the barriers that the proposed policy would create for LGBT youth, the Board removed the new requirement of parental permission and the exemption for favored clubs,” said the press release.

The Board approved the newest version of the policy on Tuesday night.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Peter Renn says the move will help make Meridian Schools safer places for everyone, “We hope that it is crystal clear to students that they can form Gay-Straight Alliances without unlawful barriers standing in their way.  We applaud the District for doing the right thing by dropping the introduction of novel requirements, like parental permission for joining a club, that would have undermined the ability of LGBT students to protect themselves and others from hostility and violence. Other schools should take note.”

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3 Responses to Meridian School District Adopts New Student Club Policy

  1. Wonderful news, that shows we should never give up.

  2. Pingback: Extremist Group Says Meridian School Board “Duped” into Dropping Consent Requirement for Clubs « The Idaho Agenda

  3. Pingback: Idaho Lawmaker Plans to Re-Introduce School Club Parental Consent Bill « The Idaho Agenda

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