Education | Gay-Straight Alliances | News | Tennessee

Tennessee HS Students Threatened with Suspension for Trying to Start Gay-Straight Alliance: VIDEO

Students at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Tennessee are being threatened with suspension over trying to start a Gay-Straight Alliance.

Carroll WATE reports:

Nathan Carroll (above), a senior at SQHS, says there's a big need for a GSA at their high school. "Just yesterday, students across the room would yell, 'God hates gays,'" said Carroll. "There is not going to be a gay club in this school. We don't deserve it."

Carroll says he has been bullied and sexually harassed for being gay most of his life. He says there are a lot of misconceptions about the GSA. "The Gay Straight Alliance is not a club to talk about sexual orientation," he said. "It's about sexual orientation, but it's not talking about sex in general. It's a support group. It's where you can go and you can talk about how you feel."

After students began passing around a petition to start a GSA, anti-gay students began passing around a petition opposing it. School officials ordered all students to stop any action around a GSA or be suspended.

Watch two local news reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. rednecks. They are all over the south.....some of them are even self loathing homosexuals that support (R) candidates and causes. There is no end to the discrimination gay people face in this country. I admore this kid's courage!

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 9, 2011 12:23:07 PM


  2. I tried to start one in my school and was told that we "didn't need that kind of attention" from the neighboring communities and the media. That was a decade ago... Some things never change.

    Posted by: Jesus | Sep 9, 2011 12:24:24 PM


  3. That boy has more courage than all the adults I know combined. He's already won by being the better human being. Good for him and shame on the idiots he's forced to deal with.

    Posted by: justme | Sep 9, 2011 12:25:03 PM


  4. And good for those local news stations. Those reports weren't at all slanted or sensationalized. It's a shame that has to be pointed out and commended, but it does, so good for them, too.

    Posted by: justme | Sep 9, 2011 12:32:12 PM


  5. All these kids should form a nationwide, skype based GSA so they can get support from each other when they can't get it from their local communities/schools. These school administrators make me so angry.

    Posted by: mike128 | Sep 9, 2011 12:38:19 PM


  6. and what is the school district doing to stop the homophobes probably nothing. how can there be so many ignorant people in this country. the worse part is the kids learn it at home.

    Posted by: walter | Sep 9, 2011 12:44:24 PM


  7. Nathan is already a winner here, even if the club never is recognized, simply by virtue of his having stood up for himself and others. Having the courage of one's convictions and having concern for others is part of being an adult, and it's cool to see him make that transition from childhood to manhood in such a positive and constructive way. Good for him. His parents should be very, very proud.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Sep 9, 2011 12:46:27 PM


  8. What year is it in Tennessee? California already had these in the 90s.

    Posted by: Max | Sep 9, 2011 12:49:52 PM


  9. The first step is to use the Equal Access Act.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Access_Act

    If schools provide students and clubs access to school facilities, then all clubs must be given equal access by federal law.

    A school may, however, determine its own process for allowing/disallowing clubs, so long as it is equivalently applied to all club petitions.

    GLSEN has a great resource on starting GSAs called the "Jump Start Guide" that helped me when I was in high school and started one up with my peers:

    http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2342.html

    Posted by: luminum | Sep 9, 2011 12:56:47 PM


  10. Kids like this give me hope for the future.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 9, 2011 1:06:47 PM


  11. And these teachers call themselves "educators".......it would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

    What a f***ed up country, and I live here !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 9, 2011 1:34:51 PM


  12. Prohibiting students from circulating petitions is a blatant First Amendment violation. I hope Nathan called the ACLU. They would defend both sides on the petition issue.

    Posted by: truthspeaker | Sep 9, 2011 1:36:17 PM


  13. @Chris...your ignorance regarding the South shows in your post and I think you meant "admire"

    Posted by: Shawn | Sep 9, 2011 1:43:25 PM


  14. Congrats to this brave young man for standing up not only for himself but for all the others students who are suffering abuse at that school. You are def. not alone!

    They have followed the rules, and they have been discriminated against. Contact the ACLU/HRC to see if they can give you some assistance as well.

    Teachers, support your students!

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Sep 9, 2011 1:52:01 PM


  15. I dare this school to rip up petitions.

    That's a sure way to get themselves a smackdown in court.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 9, 2011 2:39:48 PM


  16. The school district took out their webserver because they knew people around the United States would condemn them for their actions. There are nine members of this school board.

    Since I dont want to give out personal addresses as listed on their website, I'll just name the chairman of the board and the vice chair of the school district. Larry Stein and Danny Isbill, if people want to snail mail a letter feel free.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Sep 9, 2011 2:45:34 PM


  17. Nathan Carroll is a very brave individual. He is trying to understand and help other kids understand what being gay is all about.

    Being gay is not easy. There is much hate and intolerance from other people---either because of religious upbringing or erroneous beliefs about gay people.

    We are all human beings and should experience the same respect and rights as others. Hopefully compassion and tolerance will reign in the future. For now, my hat if off to this amazing individual.

    Posted by: Professor Locs | Sep 9, 2011 2:48:48 PM


  18. There's absolutely nothing from stopping these kids from forming whatever kind of GSA club they want to that's NOT on school grounds or during school hours...

    They should definitely keep going!

    Posted by: johnny | Sep 9, 2011 3:24:06 PM


  19. Luminum posted exactly what I came to say: it's not legal for them to ban the GSA if they also allow other non-curricular clubs. As long as they use the same guidelines for all gatherings, the GSA is perfectly legal and the school has grounds to be sued.

    Posted by: Yuki | Sep 9, 2011 3:32:43 PM


  20. These kids are heroes!

    And congrats to the TV news for doing a great story.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 9, 2011 4:14:30 PM


  21. http://www.monroe.k12.tn.us/

    http://www.monroe.k12.tn.us/sqhs/contact.htm

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Sep 9, 2011 5:37:30 PM


  22. remember this the state made famous for the famous monkey trial. this shows education hasn't progressed much in tennessee. still performing witch hunts.

    Posted by: walter | Sep 9, 2011 7:13:29 PM


  23. No reason why we should have to resort to blatant stereotypes of regions of the country and the citizens who live there simply because we feel they aren't progressive enough. Let's not be our own worst enemy.

    Besides, it takes a thousand times more cojones for these kids to be on the front lines in areas such as Tennessee instead of throwing in the towel and moving to more adaptive areas like NY or Cali. Why can't we quit calling people names long enough to realize that this is part of the fight, to help those who we claim to despise to LIKE US??? Calling them epithets is pretty crummy and counterproductive to our cause, as these kids know first hand. Give 'em props for trying to change things, and let's not give their opposition any more ammo.

    Posted by: Greg | Sep 9, 2011 11:03:35 PM


  24. HELP! Please sign this petition to asking the school to allow formation of a GSA by the students. Make the petition even more powerful by including a thoughtful and respectful message in order to persuade the administration of the need for a GSA and a safer schools in Monroe County, TN.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-monroe-county-school-officials-to-allow-sequoyah-high-school-students-to-form-a-gsa

    Posted by: Michael Leslie | Sep 10, 2011 2:57:51 PM


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