California students file federal suit in effort to start Gay Club
November 25, 1999
ORANGE, California (CNN) -- Students who want to start a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at El Modena High School have filed a federal lawsuit claiming their right to free speech and equal protection is being violated.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of two students and the club, names the Orange Unified School District, the Orange County School District Board of Education, the principal of the high school and the superintendent and board members of the school district as defendants.
"The students first applied to meet after school in September," according to a statement released by their lawyers. "Although approval normally occurs at the school level, the high school did not allow the students to meet and passed the matter on to the school board.
"On November 9, the school board held a 'public forum' to hear 'pro' and 'con' views about the club...On November 18, rather than approve the club...the board put off the vote."
The school board plans to discuss the club issue further when it meets on December 7.
During the November 18 meeting, the school board defended the delay, stating that "The legal and practical issues involved here are extremely complicated. The district policies on formation of clubs are somewhat ambigious."
None of the defendants could be reached for comment.
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