Texas teen fights gay-straight alliance ban

UPDATE MARCH 4: The planned protest took place this morning. Caller.com, a news site out of Corpus Christi, reports the crowd reached 100 and, as might be expected in Texas, a handful of people gathered in a counter-protest across the street. See pictures from the demonstration here.

A local news report on the protest:

MARCH 3: We could use more heroes like 17-year-old Texas high school student Bianca “Nikki” Peet.

Four months ago Peet approached her school’s principal with a request to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Not only was her request refused, but last week, in an effort to close all loopholes, school officials decided to ban all extracurricular clubs.

By canceling all extracurricular clubs on campus, Flour Bluff ISD hopes
to avoid the Equal Access Act — a federal law, passed in 1984, that
requires schools receiving federal funding to offer “fair opportunities
for students to form student-led extracurricular groups, regardless of
their religious, political and philosophical leanings.” The district
still maintains that they do not have to follow the Equal Access Law.

Though Peet’s fight has attracted support from such groups as Gay-Straight Alliance at Texas A&M University, the ACLU and GLADD, the superintendent of the school district, Dr Julie Carbajal, has said repeatedly there is “no chance” the district will approve the
proposed GSA.

A protest against the decision is planned at the school tomorrow (March 4). Paul Rodriguez, president of the GSA at Texas A&M University, said he’s expecting more than 300 people to attend.

“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Rodriguez told Instant Tea. “I couldn’t
believe that an administration of a public school would actually go to
that length to show hatred, to show intolerance. It’s just appalling.”

Rodriguez said supporters of the GSA have contacted both Lambda Legal
and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are investigating. But


the goal of the protest is to convince district officials to change
their minds.

“As far as Nikki and her supporters go, they were very nervous about
going to school today, because they don’t know what kind of hostility
or bullying they’re going to face,” Rodriguez said. “They’re afraid
they’re going to get blamed for all the non-curricular clubs not being
allow to meet. We’re hoping to redirect that anger to where it really
belongs. If we can get all those people on board and join us in this
fight for equality, that would just be awesome.

Blaming the activists? Sounds familiar.

Show your support for Peet’s struggle by signing this petition at change.org. You can also RSVP for tomorrow’s protest here (can’t make it to Texas tomorrow? RSVP as “maybe” to show your support and spread the word). Follow Peet on twitter here.

The email address of Flour Bluff’s principal, James Crenshaw, is jcrenshaw@flourbluffschools.net. The school’s phone number is 361-694-9100.

A local news report on the planned protest:

A Feb 24 local news report featuring an interview with Peet:

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