Schools around the country will participate in “Mix It Up At Lunch Day” on Oct. 30. Students are encouraged to talk to other students they would not normally connect with during the day to make new friends outside of their comfort zone.
Originally organized by the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat bullying in school, the day is now the target of a planned protest by the American Family Association, which calls the day a “program designed specifically by SPCL to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools, including elementary and junior high schools.”
The AMA is urging parents to keep their children home on “Mix It Up” day and is also calling on parents to contact their child's school if it is listed as one of the official participants.
After years of controversy, Berry College in Rome, Ga., has finally officially recognized LISTEN, a campus group focused on LGBT awareness.
The news came Sept. 13 from Berry President Stephen Briggs, according to Berry's Campus Carrier newspaper.
Briggs notified the campus via email that the group's purpose is "to support and educate in regard to lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) concerns," the Carrier reported.
LISTEN President Rebekah Ingram, a college junior who describes herself as a straight ally, said the group's goal is to offer safety and support for LGBT people at Berry.
Jennifer Keeton, a former graduate counseling student who sued Augusta State University for expelling her because her beliefs went against ethical guidelines for being a school counselor, had her lawsuit dismissed on all counts in federal court.
The ruling, by U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall on June 22, said Keeton had no claim to argue that the university was biased against because of her religious beliefs including homosexuality is immoral. As a graduate student in counseling who hoped to be a counselor in secondary schools, Keeton would have to follow the ethical guidelines of being a counselor that included not allowing personal beliefs interfere with judgment.
Hall's ruling upholds the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on a lower court case that also ruled Keeton's lawsuit was unfounded.
Berry College police continue to search for the vandal who poured bleach on a student’s clothes and left a racist and anti-gay note in his dorm room.
On March 26, a student who wishes to remain anonymous reported to police that someone poured bleach on the clothes in his dorm room and left a note that said “faggot nigger fuck off.” The student’s car tire was also slashed.
“We’ve interviewed a lot of people who live on the floor and have narrowed down the time-frame because of our card access to the building,” Berry College Police Chief Bobby Abrams said April 24.
A federal judged ruled Monday against an Alpharetta High School student's claim that he was sacked from his student council position after introducing an LGBT-friendly prom resolution. While the decision means Reuben Lack won’t get his leadership role back, his father stressed that the lawsuit against the Fulton County School District isn’t over.
Reuben Lack, 18, claimed in a federal lawsuit filed in March that he was removed from his position as the school's student body president after introducing a resolution during a February student council meeting that would have made the school's annual prom more inclusive to LGBT students by removing the prom “king” and “queen” titles and replacing them with more gender-neutral titles.
The school district, however, responded by saying Lack's removal had nothing to do with the prom resolution, and claimed that he was removed for canceling and rescheduling student council meetings with little or no notice, acting uncivilly and refusing to comply with direct instructions from the student council faculty advisers.
Reuben Lack, the Alpharetta High School student suing his school over his forced removal from his student council position after introducing an LGBT-friendly prom resolution, went before a federal judge today in the first hearing seeking to have him reinstated as council president.
Lack gave testimony before United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Judge Richard Story and was cross examined by the defense team for Fulton County Public Schools, Lack's attorney, James Radford, said today by phone. The defense also submitted some five affidavits from students and faculty of Alpharetta High School but did not call any witnesses.
“The judge is taking the case very seriously," Radford said. "He clearly understands the First Amendment implications of the case.”
Reuben Lack made national headlines last week when news broke that he was suing his school, Alpharetta High School, over his forced removal as the school's student body president. Lack alleged the change came after he introduced a resolution designed to make the school's prom more gay-inclusive.
Samantha Evans, executive director of communications for Fulton County Public Schools, disputed Lack’s claims in an interview today.
“The bottom line is that this allegation that the student is making is not true. This is not a district that would support any type of prejudice or bias,” Evans said today by phone.
Reuben Lack is not your ordinary high school senior. “He's not your popular kid. He's not a football player or a cheerleader. He's your policy kid,” Reuben's father, Nathaniel Lack says of his son.
“The only time he's ever been in trouble at school was because he was on his cellphone during class,” his father says. “He was checking Supreme Court rulings.”
Lack, 18, is the captain of the Alpharetta High School debate team and until Feb. 8, he was also the school's Student Body President. But after introducing an LGBT-friendly resolution during a student council meeting, Lack was told by school officials that he was being removed from his position for “pushing personal projects.” The resolution would make the school's prom more inclusive to gay and lesbian students.
Al Franken, the former funnyman turned senator from Minnesota, released a video this week calling for voters to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act. If passed, the bill would forbid discrimination against students based on sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.
The bill would also prohibit schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring reports of harassment.
Democratic Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado's 2nd Congressional District first introduced the legislation in the House in 2010 during the 111th Congress.