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Students try to start Gay-Straight Alliance

Students try to start Gay-Straight Alliance

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho - When the Bonneville District 93 School Board meets Wednesday night, it will decide if Bonneville High School can start a Gay-Straight Alliance.

The club has been controversial in the past, and it is something D93 Superintendent Chuck Shackett has heard before. When he was a principal in Salt Lake City, his high school wanted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance. The school board tried to deny the request.

"The board took a different approach: they banned the club, so they had to ban all the other clubs," said Shackett. Because of the Equal Access Act, if a district allows some clubs in school, then they must allow all clubs that meet requirements.

"They have to have an adviser that is a member of the school, an adult. They have to create bylaws, and those bylaws have to be approved by the principal, and then they have to have so many members," explained Shackett.

The adviser of Bonneville High School's alliance feels confident about the board approving the students' club.

"I think when they (the school board) read through this paperwork they will see this is kids asking for approval to meet and be supportive of each other," said Jeff Trafelet, teacher and club adviser at BHS.

Supporting each other is exactly why club president Jasmine Lorentz wants to start the alliance at BHS.

"We aren't going to be posting rainbows around the school. We aren't forcing it down anybody's throat. It's just to help the people who need it. If someone doesn't know what to do, they can come to us, and it's a safe place," said Lorentz.

Idaho Falls High School has an active alliance, with more than 30 students who regularly attend meetings in just its second year as a club.

Hillcrest High School's principal said there used to be a club there, but he wouldn't be surprised to see students pick up interest again if BHS is successful.

The Gay Straight Alliance is a national organization, but there is not a network in Idaho. Local groups borrow the name. 

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