ACLU of Indiana fights for student rights

gsanetwork.org

The ACLU of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of three North Putnam High School students who want to form a Gay-Straight Alliance club at their school.

The students have been trying to from an extracurricular GSA club for over a year without success. The school has repeatedly denied the group access even though the students have met all of the requirements to form a group as outlined in the student handbook.

The North Putnam School Board put the issue to a vote and barred the club from forming during a board meeting Nov. 20. According to the meeting agenda, the issue was brought before the board by high school principal Jason Chew. The meeting minutes have not yet been posted to the school corporation's website.

The ACLU of Indiana contends the school board vote violates the federal Equal Access Act because other extracurricular clubs did not require school board approval in order to form.

"The law is clear in this matter," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. "There is no excuse for the school district's intransigence, which is causing real harm to its students."

The students say they want to form the group to educate the community, support students and promote respect and equality. The lawsuit seeks approval for the club’s application to form and the same rights given to all other school clubs.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a similar case on behalf of students in Munster, IN earlier this year. The action resulted in a reversal of the school’s decision in July 2014.

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