A lawsuit has been filed against the school following the allegations.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana have filed a lawsuit against the Leo Junior/Senior High School in Indiana after it reportedly banned a Gay-Straight Alliance club from using terms related to the LGBTQ community.
Students at the school had set out to create a Gay-Straight Alliance club, which currently operate in over 4,000 schools in America, however school administrators changed the name to the Leo Pride Alliance.
The lawsuit filed said that the school also told the students they “may not use the words gay, lesbian, queer, GSA [or] LGBT+… in any of the announcements or promotions for the club.”
The club was also limited to only being allowed to meet in one room and it wasn’t allowed to take part in school fundraisers. A request for an LGBT History Month bulletin board was also rejected.
The lawsuit also alleges that the faculty advisor for the group was told to “send a list of all club members” despite no other student group in the school having to meet this requirement.
The lawsuit only seeks for the club to be able to name itself the Leo GSA, for it to be treated “identically with other clubs in all respects,” and to “enjoin [the school] to allow the club and its members to use such terms as gay, straight, lesbian, queer, transgender, bisexual, LGBT+, or other similar terms, in discussing the club and club activities in the school.”
Jane Henegar, the ACLU of Indiana’s executive director said: “This group aims to create an environment that provides social, emotional and educational support to students, during a time that otherwise might be increasingly difficult for LGBTQ students.
“The differential treatment aimed at Leo Pride Alliance by administrators is unwarranted.”
And Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director said: “Students at Leo Jr. Sr. High School may participate in extracurricular clubs recognized by the school.
“By creating additional hurdles for the Leo Pride Alliance, and censoring the group’s name, the school is infringing on these students’ rights.”
The school hasn’t responded to the lawsuit, but a spokesperson said: “We take the rights of our students seriously. We are looking into this matter.”
The lawsuit was filed in the same week that members of a Gay-Straight Alliance in a Canadian school revealed the level of threats that they have received for being part of the group.
Ashley Hoskins, a student at the school told CBC News: “They were saying they wanted people to die. They wanted to throw us in a box, light us on fire and throw us out in the river.”
Daniel Peckford who founded the GSA in the school said: “The homophobia in our school is really bad. I don’t think anyone is being bullied for being straight.” He also showed a CBC reporter a screenshot that he had been sent with a Straight Pride flag and a message that said “Fuck gays be straight.”
Students who have been engaging in the homophobic abuse have been suspended, but Peckford says they “start doing the same things” as soon as their suspension is lifted.