Parents of students at a North Carolina charter school have thrown an epic tantrum that has resulted in the banning of all school clubs — all because a club for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students was allowed to be formed. As is to be expected with religious bigots, they insisted that there was nothing wrong with having a religious club at the school; however, they saw plenty wrong with the club for LGBT students.
At a Lake Lure Classical Academy Board of Directors meeting this past Friday, parents and other guardians wishing to keep the Christian club but ban the LGBTQ club “blindsided” those in attendance with their bigoted demands. One woman explained that because of the club, she’d be forced to tell her grandchildren what the meaning of “gay” and “lesbian” is. Newsflash, lady: Unless your grandkids are living under a rock, they likely already know what it is. They likely also don’t have a problem with it, unless you’ve already brainwashed them into being little bigoted versions of yourself.
The school is bankrolled by a rich donor, John Bryan, but is still a public school, because it is also financed by taxpayer money. Therefore, this religious grandstanding would be in violation of the law. However, one bigoted concerned citizen pointed out that due to its status as a public school, Lake Lure certainly has the ability to put a stop to the meetings of the LGBT students.
“Another citizen told the board since it is a public school it has the ability to do away with the club. He said he did not have a child at Lake Lure, but if he did he would take them out immediately. He said the only diversity the school needs is the Bible.”
Ah. So, in other words, people can have whatever clubs they want, just since they fall in line with your fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Well, sorry, but that’s not how public education works, sir. Either you include all religions in the club system if they want to be a part of it, or you include none.
According to Lake Lure Baptist Church Pastor Anton Roos, parents would pull their kids from the Charter School if they don’t pull the plug on LGBTQ inclusion. He also complained about the “advertising campaign” (meaning some posters, probably the same kind school clubs have used since the beginning of time) that the LGBTQ club used to advertise its formation. Roos also wants Layne Long, the teacher sponser of the LGBTQ club, disciplined:
“This [LGBT] club was put together by a teacher and I would like to know what action was taken against her. We are in a time in which you as a board need to take a stand. We have entrusted [School Director Jessica Boland] with our children and you have failed them.”
And why, sir, would action be taking against this teacher? She has done absolutely nothing wrong, immoral, or illegal. You just want her disciplined because she won’t help make your bigoted religious beliefs become school policy. Long responded to Roos’ and others’ ridiculous demands:
“This is not a religious club. This is a human rights club. My father is a Christian and I’ve been brought up to understand that God is love. Jesus wants to help people.”
Long also said that she prepared herself on the subject of inclusion of LGBTQ students by researching GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) on her own time:
“I had researched GLSEN over the summer and ordered some stuff. I gave one poster to our guidance counselor who hung it in her office. Then when the student told me she wanted to start a club, I gave her the poster and she hung it up. I’m extremely proud of my students. If there was no need for this club to exist in this school, it would not exist.”
This must be the “advertising campaign” the bigots are complaining about.
Exactly, Ms. Long. And that love you speak of includes LGBTQ students, whether people like Pastor Roos and his band of bigoted parents like it or not. GLSEN is a wonderful organization, and kudos to you for finding it. Hopefully, all clubs — including the LGBTQ club– are allowed to meet again soon.
School Board member Mike Harrington said of the situation:
“This topic of clubs has created a strong difference of opinions in the LLCA family and it concerns me greatly because this is a school of choice. I didn’t like coming into this meeting and being blindsided, I didn’t know anything about this issue until today. This situation is bad management on our part and there is work that needs to be done.”
The only work that is to be done, Mr. Harrington, is to stop these ridiculous bigots from running things at the only public school available in the Lake Lure area. Hopefully, you are all strong enough to go up against them. Though I am not hopeful there, considering that you voted 5-3 to suspend all clubs rather than telling these bigots that public schools are not an arm of their Christian churches, and that everyone — including LGBTQ students and allies — are allowed to organize. Hopefully, you rethink your bias and stop caving to the demands of religious bigots.
Featured image via Flickr