Students Find Comfort in New Found Acceptance

Students Find Comfort in New Found Acceptance

Alexandria Cooley, Reporter

TEA club, or the True Equality Alliance, was started at this school at the beginning of the of the 2015/2016 school year. During that time they were advised not to advertise by way of posters in the school.

“That’s what they told us at the beginning of the year,” Club President Katie Baker said, “But I think that they were just being careful. We were a little bit worried about community backlash because people wouldn’t take it well because it is kind of a hard issue where we live. But, I think now the administration has realized that it has been going well. Last time I talked with them, they said that we could have put up posters, but the school year is almost over.”

Although the club was prepared for community backlash, they were happily not met with any.

“It’s been going very well. People have been very positive about it. It’s been good for everyone who’s coming,” Baker said.

“I’ve had people ask questions, but it’s never been a negative thing,” club secretary Izzy Briones said.

When TEA club formed, they decided to form their own organization instead of joining up with the nationally recognized GSA. They wanted a name that sounded like symbolized support and acceptance. Now, however, a new club is trying to form, under the organization of GSA, or Gay Straight Alliance.

On the GSA network website, it is stated that “their overall strategy for fighting for educational justice is to work with grassroots, youth-led groups and GSAs, empowering them to advocate their schools and communities, advocate for just policies that protect LGBTQ youth from harassment and violence, and organize in coalition with other youth groups across identity lines to address broader issues of oppression.”

“I think that Davis High needs a club like this to show that we include every type of student. And to provide a more safe and accepting environment. There are kids in our school that don’t feel like who they are is recognized because there is nowhere safe for them to be. So that will be our ultimate goal,” Potential GSA club leader Maddy Johnson said.

The potential GSA club is trying to form a foundation on which the club will stand. Currently, they are trying to decide how they will appeal to the administration. They plan to get student signatures to show the administration that there is interest.

“There is a law called the Equal Access Act, that says the administration of the school can’t allow us to not have a club like this. It’s nationally recognized as well, so there’s a whole program set up that has fought schools that are trying to prevent GSAs before,” Johnson said.

The Equal Access Act, previously mentioned, ensures that “noncurricular student groups are afforded the same access to public secondary school facilities as other, similarly situated student groups.” In order for a club to apply to the act, they need to fill certain regulations. Davis High has created a limited open forum by allowing one or more noncurricular student groups to meet on its premises, and so the act applies.

“The point of the GSA is that everyone can come whether you are LGBT or questioning, or straight. Anyone who wants to learn can come and learn, even if it’s not necessarily something you agree with. We encourage anyone to come and learn about the club, and learn about what we do,” Johnson said, “It’s not for a specific group of people at the school either. It’s not just for theatre kids. Or just for the football team. It’s for anyone in the school who wants to be a part of and learn about something like this.”