According to an Associated Press release datelined Cleveland, Georgia, “White County school officials and the American Civil Liberties Union have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over a student gay rights club, the ACLU said Wednesday.” The student club is called Peers Rising in Diverse Education (PRIDE). As White County is in a relatively rural and conservative area of Georgia this threatened law suit is definitely a “thumb in the eye” to the local population.
Last July, a local federal judge ruled that the school board had violated the federal Equal Access Act by refusing meeting rooms to PRIDE while allowing other “non-curricular” groups to meet. This result is highly ironic, because that federal act was passed to deal with the ACLU targeting religious and Boy Scout groups from meeting on school property after school hours. So, the cure to one problem generated the new problem.
According to the ACLU, White County remedies for this oversight will include, “mak[ing] it clear that harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is not permitted on campus.” The ACLU statement continued, “The school also has agreed to provide faculty with annual training session on how to deal with and prevent anti-gay harassment.“
Neither the School Superintendent nor the County’s Attorney were “available for comment” when the article was written. No mention is made about how much money will flow from the taxpayers of White County into the coffers of the ACLU as a result of this settlement.