BRANDON, Miss. — Some students and parents, asking for permission to form a gay-straight alliance on campuses, held a small protest outside the Rankin County school district’s office Tuesday. They also want a new policy that requires parental approval before joining any school club rescinded.
“They just changed the policy after they discussed us; and really it’s mainly so kids won’t join the club. I mean, who wants to come out to their parents just to join the club,” said Hunter Shannon a sophomore at Brandon High who presented the idea to school administrators.
The gay-straight club supporters say it could also be a safe haven. “Some kids haven’t come out yet. And some parents and families are homophobic and that could cause problems,” echoed Abbie Jones.
Student protesters said the proposed club is meant to provide a support network to fight for LGBT students against bullying and discrimination. But some parents, who are standing with the students, said the district is over reaching. Tim Jones, agreed. “The school district’s decision in this matter, they are basically endorsing the bulling, the anxiety, the separation,” said Tim Jones. His wife agreed. “That community is difficult to deal with. So why not allow these kids to have a group of their own and have a group to where they can support each other and socialize.”
But some other students, who support the new club policy, staged their own counter protest Tuesday. “It just goes against what we believe in. As far as prayer in school, why should we take that out if they can have this?” said senior Dean Arnold.
The school district’s administrators had no comment about either demonstration.