June 08, 2012
Citing extensive case law in Florida and around the country, and the potential for excessive legal fees, Superintendent Jim Yancey will allow students to form a Gay Straight Alliance at Vanguard High School.
However, as with other extra-curricular clubs, students wanting to join the GSA must have written parental permission. Discussions at club meetings cannot focus on sexual content, and the faculty advisor must attend all meetings.
Yancey originally denied the request from two students last fall, expressing concern the content of conversation is not appropriate for younger high school students.
Because U.S. district court rulings, including Florida’s Middle District in Jacksonville, have supported similar clubs elsewhere in Florida, Yancey felt a forthcoming ruling would favor the club and oppose the district.
Marion County’s decision is based on a court ruling forcing Nassau County Public Schools to allow a GSA on its high school campuses. As well, courts ruled against a similar defense by Okeechobee County Public Schools, forcing that school district to pay $325,000 in legal fees.
Earlier today, Yancey’s attorney spoke with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida, which sued Yancey and the Marion County School Board for the original opposition.
Marion County Public Schools
An Equal Opportunity School District