Gay-Straight Alliance Draws Overwhelming Support

By: Tim Saunders
By: Tim Saunders

It's a story that made headlines for its opposition, but at a school board meeting Tuesday, a mostly supportive group turned out to speak about a gay-straight alliance at Harrisonburg High School.

The school board heard comments from students, parents, and community members. All but one of the speakers was in favor of the alliance.

"The gay straight alliance is not for recruiting more gay people, It's not for pushing a gay agenda," says Robert Hendrikson, a Harrisonburg resident and parent of a gay son. "Do you give these kids the safety that they crave? The acceptance? An area to just share in their camaraderie?" says Alliance supporter Cameron Hunt.

"For a public school to endorse a club that is overtly sexual in nature, by its very title, I think is open to question," says Dean Welty, Director of the Valley Family Forum and opponent of the Alliance.

"I just want it to be seen as a safe place for other students and not only gay students, but straight," says Jose Perez, a Harrisonburg High School student who formed the alliance.

Right now, the school board has no plans to take any action on this matter, but Superintendent Don Ford says the Alliance will be afforded the same equal rights the law requires them to extend any student group.

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