Gay school group takes head to court

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Gay rights group, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday to stop discrimination against students at the Noble Street Charter School who tried to create a gay straight alliance (GSA) student group.

“Noble Street Charter School has dragged its feet in hopes that the end of the school year would end the desire for a club, but the students have demonstrated that they need and have a right to form a GSA,” said James Madigan, staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest regional office in Chicago.

“By forcing the GSA to meet informally, and not allowing the GSA to use resources given to other school clubs, the administration has created a second class citizen status for these students, and that is against the law.”

Over the course of the past academic year, students at Noble Street Charter School have tried to establish a GSA student group with the stated goal “to promote awareness, safety, respect, and tolerance of all sexual orientations in a non-judgmental environment.”

The principal of the school told the students that they could hold meetings “unofficially,” he forbade them from posting signs, distributing any written flyers or having GSA meetings announced.

The complaint filed in federal court asserts the students’ rights under the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act, which states that secondary schools that receive federal funds and allow non-curricular student groups to meet on campus are prohibited from discriminating against any group based on its viewpoint.

The students seek a court order requiring the school to allow the GSA to use the resources available to other student groups. Lambda Legal has also filed for immediate injunctive relief to allow the students to be able to hold an official meeting before the founding students graduate in June.