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Rowan County, NC schools ban gay-straight alliance

“We’ve got to address this issue. We’re not in the business of teaching sex, we’re in the business of educating our kids. This is Rowan County, not New York City, and I think it’s time to use a little Rowan County common sense.”
— School board member Jim Shuping on the decision to ban GSAs in the NC county

As I noted in the roundup, bible-beating Charlotte-area AmTaliban Flip Benham of Operation Save America used a press conference in Salisbury to kick off his “God is Going Back to School” campaign, hoping to influence the Rowan-Salisbury School Board as it debated whether to allow a gay-straight alliance.

And the wingnuts got their way in Empty Wig Liddy Dole’s home town. Some more detail, from the local paper there, the Salisbury Post:

Board members voted 7-0 in favor of Jim Shuping’s motion to ban all sexually-oriented clubs — gay, straight or otherwise — and to address any student’s emotional issues concerning sexuality with guidance counselors.

Shuping later added to the motion — at the recommendation of attorney Don Sayers — that the existence of such a club would “materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities in school,” a clause that makes banning it legal under the federal Equal Access Act.

The decision Monday ended months of virulent debate surrounding South’s Gay/Straight Alliance. Board members discussed it during their March work session — Shuping made a motion to abolish it then — and decided they could not legally ban it without banning all other non-curricular clubs.

Oh and the wingnuttery continues, as one cretin stood up, and bleated, apparently unaware of Lawrence v. Texas. You can imagine “Dixie” playing in the background at this meeting.

Brian Johnson, whose children will attend South Rowan, said a public high school was no place for a Gay/Straight Alliance. “Take a stand for what you believe is right,” he told the board. “If it comes down to a lawsuit, there will be help for that.”

Carl Ford, who has been an active supporter of the high school, said sodomy was illegal in North Carolina, so a Gay/Straight Alliance shouldn’t exist.

He also wondered why South was forced to drop its old mascot, the Rebels, when this club — which offends more community members — was being allowed to meet.

…”I, too, am here to speak for our children,” said Mike Clawson, president of the Salisbury-Rowan chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Homosexual students “are like everybody else’s children, and they deserve the same rights as everybody else. The bottom line is, it’s the law.”

The crowd booed Clawson as he left the microphone.

Man, this is embarrassing BS in my home state. As I said, the Triangle is an oasis of sanity. Drive too far outside the bubble and this is what you encounter.

The email for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education is The web site is here.

Hat tips, Scott and Triad-area blogger Matt Hill Comer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding