NEW YORK - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today responded to developments involving an ACLU of Southern California letter sent to Sultana High School and the Hesperia Unified School District demanding school personnel end their censorship of speech and activities of the school Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), including the suppression of GLSEN's resources and programs. The letter also demanded the school end its discriminatory practices against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
GLSEN Executive Dr. Eliza Byard issued the following statement:
"Sultana High School is showing complete disregard for LGBT students' right to a safe learning environment and appears to be openly violating the Equal Access Act by discriminating against the school's Gay-Straight Alliance. GLSEN salutes the student leaders for having the courage to try to create a safer learning environment for LGBT students despite the administration sending the harmful message that LGBT students are undeserving of respect and support. We stand with the ACLU and the students of the Sultana High School GSA and urge the school to lift the restrictions placed on the GSA. We call on the school to allow the club to identify as an LGBT-inclusive club and undo its restrictions on participation in GLSEN's Day of Silence, Ally Week and use of Think Before You Speak materials."
More than one-fifth of students reported their schools or school personnel discriminate against LGBT people through formal or informal policies and practices, according to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey. Less overt policies and practices may also contribute to negative experiences for LGBT students and make them feel less a part of the school community.
To learn more about discriminatory policies and practices, please watch the GLSEN research webinar on findings from the GLSEN 2011 National School Climate Survey.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.