Thursday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Jacksonville
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 4, 2009
Brandon Hensler, Director of Communications, (786) 363-2737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida invites members of the media to attend a hearing on students’ motion for preliminary injunction in the Yulee Gay-Straight Alliance lawsuit, filed last month in federal court, which will take place in Jacksonville on Thursday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. If granted, the preliminary injunction would force Nassau County school administrators to immediately grant equal access to the GSA while the case makes its way through the courts.
WHAT: Federal Hearing in Yulee High School Gay-Straight Alliance case
WHERE: Courtroom 10A, 300 North Hogan Street, Jacksonville, FL
WHEN: Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
WHO: Randall Marshall, ACLU-FL Legal Director
Robert Rosenwald, ACLU-FL LGBT Project Director
The ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project sued the School Board of Nassau County, Florida (“SBNC”) after administrators unlawfully denied students’ requests for permission to form a Gay-Straight Alliance (“GSA”) this school year at Yulee High School and during the 2007-08 school year at Yulee Middle School.
The SBNC superintendent said in a letter denying access to the GSA that groups with names referencing a specific sexual orientation would not be recognized and that even if the group changed its name to one not communicating a gay-specific mission, approval was uncertain.
GSAs are student organizations made up of straight and gay students who wish to advocate for an end to bullying, harassment, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) students. There are over 4,000 GSAs in the U.S., according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to grant access and official recognition to a GSA (and most other student groups) if the school allows any extracurricular groups to meet on campus. SBNC denied the Yulee GSA access and official recognition even though other student organizations, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, meet regularly at YHS and YMS.
About the ACLU of Florida
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our Web site at: www.aclufl.org.
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