Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, NM is experiencing a parent led upsurge in homophobia after some students in the school tried to start a Gay Straight Alliance. The vocal parents who are anti-gay have demanded that school funds and property not go to the organization & that it be banned. When Equality NM reminded the city that failure to provide equal access to school grounds and funds for student groups regardless of content was a Federal violation of the Equal Access Act, some associated with the school district said they will shut down all of the extra-curricular clubs in order to avoid discrimination charges for shutting down this one. (Once again proving when one is not free all of us suffer.) On Monday Oct. 8, 2007 more than 300 parents, students, and community members showed up at Piedra Vista High to discuss the forming of the Gay Straight Alliance club. The number of detractors in the group was undisclosed. But the Farmington paper ran its own poll of 1600 people and 1000 said the GSA should not be allowed to exist.
24 students held a sit in to protest the GSA, in what is becoming an all too familiar move to appropriate progressive political action for conservative means. The school has 1300 students.
Equality New Mexico has launched a campaign to ensure the rights of GLBTQ youth and their allies and by extinction every student’s access to school activities and clubs. All though their petition was for the end of last month’s meeting, they are still taking signatures so sign it anyway.
If you are a NM resident, please attend the school board meeting scheduled for Thursday. They will be voting on whether to disband all student groups or to allow the GSA to exist by default. I cannot find the location of the meeting online but did find the school district contact information.
They can be reached at:
5700 College Blvd, Farmington NM 87402
The Farmington situation is echoed by similar events in Georgia and Florida last year to stop GSA groups in White County High School & involving the schools in Hillsborough County respectively. Time will tell if the Farmington situation will also lead to other tactics, like those used in Orange County High, where students involved in the GSA were outed to prevent other students from joining, or Boyd County High School where the school board decided to allow the club but then found multiple ways to deny their funding and room use requests.