Tenn. high school’s gay-straight alliance club under fire

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. – A high school club that’s gained national attention will continue to meet after some parents and students said it shouldn’t.

Both supporters and opponents of Franklin County High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club were watching as the school board decided it’s future.

They’re divided on whether students should have gay-straight alliance at a high school where the mascot is the “Rebel” and the school song is “Dixie.”News 2’s Jessica Jaglois was there and said you could have cut the tension between parents and students holding white flags with red crosses and those waving rainbow flags with a knife.

“We are being antagonized and we are being slandered. We see why this club is needed,” said one attendee.

“There really is no place for discussion about sexual orientation in a high school,” said another. “Parents, teachers and students need to know about the dangers.”

After hearing both sides, the school board decided it needs to review policies and procedures for all school clubs, though the GSA Club is able to continue their meetings.

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), which monitors cases where gay rights might be violated, was there for the decision.

“We’re pleased there is no board-level attack on the GSA,” said Chris Sanders, TEP’s Executive Director. “It’s obvious some parents are opposed.”

And one parent who questioned the club’s purpose said they wouldn’t mind if GSA stayed if there is more clarity.

“On what service organizations they plan to do and what the basis of the need was,” said parent Candice Maxwell. “If the school did not provide resources for that need already.”

But GSA supporters say the need is clear.

The school board plans to vote on the state of school clubs at its meeting next month.

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