The Morris Area High School Gay-Straight Alliance: The Revisioning

Well, gosh. We thought the local Gay-Straight Alliance had won a victory, and they did…but of course the conservative status quo had to strike back. New rules have been posted in the school.

Notices of non-curricular student club meetings may be posted only on a bulletin board designated for non-curricular clubs. Such notices may include the name of the club; a brief description of the club; the dates, times and locations of meetings; and a statement indicating that students are invited to attend the meetings. Also, all notices posted by non-curricular clubs must include a disclaimer that states: “This is a non-curricular student club. The School District does not endorse or sponsor the goals, objectives, activities, or opinions of the club.” Any distribution or display of other information/materials relating to non-curricular student clubs, other than the bulletin board posting, may only be provided to students who choose to attend club meetings.

Materials related to non-curricular clubs may not be distributed or displayed in school hallways, classrooms or common areas, nor may announcements be made over the School District’s public address system or in school-sponsored publications.

The first rule of gay-straight alliance club is no one talks about gay-straight alliance club.

That’s a bit draconian. So to forestall the possibility that there might be gay signs or gay announcements over the PA, they’ve declared that no “non-curricular” club can make any announcements at all.

As a local parent points out, homecoming is a non-curricular activity. So are senior prom, pep rallies, and athletic events. I’m sure the students will enjoy the newly drab, somber, staid hallways of their institution.

That notice really ought to be signed by the proud author, so we could all know who the puritans are.


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t think the school administration can walk the line. They will go over it, and there will be an expensive lawsuit the school administration will lose and have to pay legal fees on both sides. Somebody, preferably a lawyer, should explain the problem to those too chicken to sign their names. Essentially, shut the fuck up.

  2. says

    If they are going to put in rules like this, I hope people are paying attention to will ensure they are enforced for everything, that all non-curricular are treated equally, and are willing to make a lot of noise when the school inevitably decides some clubs will operate with slightly different rules.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    Let me guess…
    the non-curricular bulletin board is in the cellar, in the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory with a “Beware of leopard” sign on the door.

  4. NYC atheist says

    And for clarity, this is all because some students are gay, and some students aren’t homophobes. And they won’t be silenced.

    Sorry to state the obvious, but this blows my mind. Even when I was a fundie I understood that not everyone agreed that being gay was a sin, and that the same freedom I had to believe what I did (and to say so) applied to everyone.

  5. Larry says

    Lets just see who screams the loudest when signs promoting the MHS Enchantment Under The Sea dance are disallowed on campus walls. You know, this really does get quite tiresome after awhile.

  6. Holms says

    I’m not surprised. Conservatives have already shown that they would rather do without court officiated marriages in their entirety if it lets them inconvenience Icky Gay People.

  7. futurechemist says

    Not too surprising that rather than share their toys with everyone, the conservatives decide it’s better to just throw all the toys away. Isn’t that what some judges and county clerks are doing by refusing to issue all marriage licenses so that they won’t have to give marriage licenses to any icky gay couples?

    That being said, there’s a nuance in the rules. It applies to “non-curricular student clubs”. Meaning groups that are started by students. Athletics would presumably not be affected, since that’s not student run. Nor would school sponsored events like homecoming or prom. But yeah, I hope some civil rights lawyers are waiting for the school to mess up and give a different club the slightest bit of preferential treatment.

    It’s really a horrible and devious way to try to turn the GSA and LGBT students into scapegoats. If any other clubs or parents are annoyed, the school can just say they’re being completely fair, so the GSA should be blamed for ruining things for everyone.

  8. says

    If they are going to put in rules like this, I hope people are paying attention to will ensure they are enforced for everything, that all non-curricular are treated equally, and are willing to make a lot of noise when the school inevitably decides some clubs will operate with slightly different rules.

    Betting a fiver that they’ll try to come up with reasons why those other non-curricular activities are really different and therefore not subject to those rules….

  9. wcorvi says

    “…homecoming is a non-curricular activity. So are senior prom, pep rallies, and athletic events….”

    Oh, but those are grandfathered in, aren’t they? In any case, they can be exceptions to the rules.

  10. opposablethumbs says

    If any other clubs or parents are annoyed, the school can just say they’re being completely fair, so the GSA should be blamed for ruining things for everyone.

    This, sadly. It’s such a great tactic that it gets used everywhere (don’t blame the bigots behind the curtain, blame the Alliance members under your nose; don’t blame the CEOs and shareholders paying crap wages blame the lowest-paid workers on your own shop-floor; don’t blame the government blame the visible immigrants etc.).
    And it seems to be such a religious favourite! Don’t blame the christians, blame the atheists for pointing out the illegality of religious symbols and endorsements on public sites and occasions …

    I really hope that if this comes up – if there is a case of preferential treatment for some other student club – that it gets dealt with and won quickly and resoundingly, without costing the schools and hence the students resources they can’t afford. People sadly tend not to blame the idiot bigots who are actually responsible.

  11. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    There really is not doubt whatsoever that they’ll ignored the living shit out of this new rule whenever they fucking feel like it and make a big deal of applying it when it suits them. Fucking bigots…they’ll grab on to their precious bigotry until the very last femtosecond they can.
    I hope people make noise when they inevitably abuse their own rules, a lot of noise….

  12. Petteri Sulonen says

    Adults making it clear in the strongest possible terms that they disapprove in order to discourage teenagers from doing something. This is bound to work!

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    Morris is beginning to sound like a homophobic version of the town from Footloose. How long before they just go ahead and ban dancing?

  14. Moggie says

    I suspect that the GSA notices posted on that board will keep disappearing shortly after they go up. That’s easier if there’s only one place they can be posted.

    I suppose the “other information” prohibition is mainly intended to prevent the notices from including a URL?

  15. consciousness razor says

    Such a garbage policy. Even if I wasn’t sure of their motives, there’s no clear indication of what the fuck they’re enforcing and how it would be enforced. They don’t even need to try — it’ll be unfair whether or not they want that.

    Why can’t students freely assemble or express themselves however they like? Why did they not even bother to come up with a fake justification for this? (That is, instead of the real one they can’t openly admit, which is apparently “we think gays are bad.”)

    Would a school paper be a “club”? Can those not exist now? Or how exactly are those supposed to function, if you wanted to make one? What’s a club and what’s a meeting?

    If a “club” announces on the sacred billboard that “meetings are whenever you feel like picking up our materials, outside of class,” what then? Is there a rule about when and where such clubs can voluntarily meet? Before or after school, during lunch or study hall….. or what? Can students not communicate with each other outside of class? How are they allowed to communicate, if at all, other than through a single fucking billboard?

    How is it interfering with the curriculum if they do? If what happens in the hallway is part of the curriculum too, if anybody seriously wants to play that game, should that not be part of the curriculum if the school has no educational role to play in it? How could this shit be good for anything?

    I don’t want people getting in trouble, but is there something missing here, some way to tell what would happen if students disobey this crap, assuming they even have a method for determining what’s a violation? Is it just whatever arbitrary thing the administration wants? How long until this crap just falls apart under its own weight?

  16. Cardinal Shrew says

    How about the Gay-Straight Alliance and math study group, could they put up fliers?

  17. Parse says

    I’m expecting the school’s administration to say at least one of these statements in the next two weeks:
    “Teachers are just telling their classes about clubs they think might interest them, and it’s not their fault they don’t think anybody would be interested in the GSA.”
    “There’s only so much room on the bulletin board, I’m sure it’s only a coincidence your notice is always the first one papered over.”
    “Everybody is busy, and we can’t keep an eye on the bulletin board at all times, so we have no idea who keeps removing your notice.”
    If we see other groups passing out information, we’ll be certain to tell them to stop. We’re busy, though, and can’t see everything all the time.”
    “Bobby Tables’ parent says he came home with a GSA flyer. Do you have documentation in triplicate that he chooses to attend your meetings?”

  18. moarscienceplz says

    Here is the link to the article.

    In August, the board directed district administrators to complete an activity audit to determine whether the district offered any other non-curricular clubs. The audit showed that four other groups — Student Council, Drama Club, Fall Musical and Spring Play — would be considered non-curricular.

    So the Fall Musical and the Spring Play won’t be able to have posters in the hallways? I bet a nickel they will, and nobody will do a damn thing about it.

  19. DrewN says

    @ Cardinal Shrew, Gay Math?! That’s almost as evil as Jewish Physics! (sorry about Godwinning the thread)

  20. grumpyoldfart says

    New rules have been posted

    That’s standard procedure everywhere for everyone: No-one ever tries to honor the spirit of the law. The first thing they do is look for loopholes that permit them to do as they please rather that what the new rule demands.

  21. jimzy says

    Drive back and forth in a 4×4 pickup with 2×4 meter sign advertising GSA events. “Just picking up my daughter”…