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Statement of Equality Pennsylvania in Support of Chambersburg High School GSA

Harrisburg – For more than a decade, school districts across the country have instituted Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student organizations in their high schools to ensure a safe space for students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The Chambersburg School Board has chosen to deny student’s that right. Equality Pennsylvania asks the Board to reconsider that unfortunate earlier vote.

The School Board has a wonderful opportunity to let their LGBT students know that they don’t have to wait until they get older to have a safe space to be themselves and that they can have it right now, at Chambersburg High School. This is the Board’s chance to be a voice for equal access to a safe learning environment for ALL of their students.

Under the federal Equal Access Act, public schools may not deny the ability of a Gay Straight Alliance to form if the school allows other extra-curricular student organizations to meet. Federal Law mandates that any school that allows a non-academic student organization must allow students to organize a GSA. In this case, Chambersburg is clearly not above the law. The School Board must now do what is right by students morally and legally.

Equality Pennsylvania strongly recommends that the Chambersburg School Board reconsider their decision on a Gay Straight Alliance at Chambersburg High School. Given the lack of an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying law in Pennsylvania, local School Districts are left on their own to ensure safe environments for LGBT students to learn and to be themselves. Equality Pennsylvania is hopeful that the members of the Chambersburg School Board will do the right thing and allow students to organize a GSA in their district.

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