Orange Co. CA Students forming Gay-Straight Alliance Meetings
Reprint of a news release from the People for the American Way (PFAW)
El Modena High School students, prohibited by school officials from holding
meetings of their Gay-Straight Alliance, asked a federal judge today to issue a
preliminary injunction allowing their club to meet while their lawsuit against
the Orange Unified School District continues.
"It is unfortunate that it is going to take a court order to get the
school board to stop playing politics with their students' rights. But,
apparently, these school officials need to learn the lesson that they are not
above the law," said Myron Dean Quon, staff attorney for Lambda
Legal Defense and Education Fund's Western Regional Office in Los Angeles.
The students are being represented by attorneys with People For the American
Way Foundation, Lambda and Irell & Manella, LLP, a California law firm
with offices in Los Angeles and Orange County.
"The students have been denied their First Amendment and other legal
rights throughout the fall semester. That time can't be recovered. We are
asking the court to act now so that no more time is lost and the students'
rights aren't denied for an entire school year," said Carole Shields,
president of People For the American Way Foundation.
In addition to the First Amendment violation, the students' motion argues
that the school board is violating their rights under the federal Equal Access
Act, which prohibits school districts from discriminating against a
student-initiated club because of the political, philosophical, religious or
other viewpoints expressed at club meetings.
After preventing the Gay-Straight Alliance from meeting all fall, the
school board unanimously rejected the students' application to have the group
recognized on December 7. El Modena High School has at least thirty-eight
student groups that meet on campus, including the Asian Club, Black Student
Union, Christian Club, Earth Club, Eighties Club, Equestrian Club, Gentlemen's
Club, Girls' League and Juggling Club. The other clubs are afforded certain
rights and opportunities by the school, including the right to meet on school
premises, participate in "Club Rush" to attract new members,
announce and advertise meetings on school bulletin boards, and appear in the
school yearbook. If the students' motion is granted, they will be able to
exercise the same rights and opportunities that other student groups have while
waiting for the final outcome of the lawsuit.
Anthony Colin, et al. v. Orange Unified School District, et. al, case no. SA
CV 99-1461, is pending in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California, Southern Division.
|"School Board Votes Against Student Gay-Straight Club at El Modena
High," 1999-DEC-8, 1999 at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=944680196|
|Read the legal complaint, dated November 19, 1999 at: http://www.pfaw.org/courts/orangecountybrief-991124.pdf
This is an Acrobat PDF file. You can obtain a free software to read
these files from Adobe
|Gay-Straight Alliance Students Sue Orange County High School;
November 24, 1999 at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=943483300|
|Students Set Deadline in Gay-Straight Alliance Dispute, November 19,
|Statement in Support of Gay-Straight Alliance at El Modena High
School, November 18, 1999, at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=942966577|
|El Modena Students Demand Recognition of Gay-Straight Alliance,
- November 16, 1999, at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=942790525|
|Hostile Climate 1999 Report Documents Rising Tide of Anti-Gay
Bigotry, November 9, 1999, at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=942207217|
|PFAWF to Orange Unified School Board: Follow the Law! November
4, at: 1999 at: http://www.pfaw.org/news/press//show.cgi?article=941762843|
Originally posted: 2000-JAN-6
Latest update: 2000-FEB-10