Students at Cosby High School in Chesterfield County have taken to Facebook to build support for a new Gay-Straight Alliance.
According to one of the students, Andy, administration has been hesitant to move forward with the GSA.
“Our principal turned us down four times, four consecutive years stating the club is ‘too controversial,’” he said. ”[It was challenging] finding a sponsor who will support us despite the denials and getting paperwork from our administration.”
Beth Panilaitis, executive director for ROSMY, says process for starting a GSA varies based on district and in some respects based on school, but it is the same process as starting any other club.
“Legally, schools have to allow a GSA if they’ve gone through all the necessary protocol to start the club and they have to be treated like any other club,” she says. ”I think sometimes that process can be a barrier when you’re looking at getting sponsorship from a faculty member.”
Multiple calls to Chesterfield County Public Schools were not returned.
Via their Rainbow Warriors Facebook group, the students have been communicating updates daily. The club organizers have also made beaded rainbow bracelets (pictured) for students to wear around campus to show their support.
Not everyone has been supportive on their Facebook group according to senior student Rachel.
“Negative posts haven’t dampened our spirits, and have actually given us more motivation. Seeing the rude remarks and negative reactions just proves how important our message is. And that message is that anti-LGBT bullying needs to be stopped, especially in schools.”
According to Andy, the students originally communicated through the school’s Diversity Club and began planning for the GSA earlier this year.