South GSA must be recognized by administration

South+GSA+must+be+recognized+by+administration

Removing the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) posters by the administration was a surprising act. But the poster’s removal has brought up a few more questions regarding non-school sanctioned clubs, teachers’ roles in these clubs and overall acceptance.

First off, the decision to remove the GSA posters brings up many issues. Though the administration deemed the posters inappropriate, the graphic at the top of the page was displaying the club for what it is.

What the administration needs to understand is that the younger generation does not define same-sex relationships as inappropriate. They may differ on the role of gay marriage, but they have learned to accept both straight and same-sex relationships as part of society, which is what the posters displayed.

The mission of the GSA is to create a safe haven for students, promote equality and respect, and provide support for the student body. This relatively new group has already demonstrated their influence with unifying events like the Day of Silence. By claiming that their posters were a problem, the administration may be bringing this group’s mission into question.

As the nation becomes more accepting, South should evolve as well. Though the GSA is not currently affiliated with the school, the group should be recognized. Other schools around the state (including University Liggett, along with the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills Schools) and nation sponsor GSA clubs, and South can follow in their footsteps.

Later this week, the administrations at Grosse Pointe North and South will meet to discuss several of these policies. Two of the policies being reviewed need to undergo modifications.

At South, the current policy states that non-school sanctioned clubs cannot put images on their posters. They can only include information, such as meeting times and locations. Since all posters hung up in the school need to be approved by the administration, they should consider what is truly offensive to the student body and what is not, and then make decisions accordingly.

After the administration meets to determine what can be posted, acceptable material needs to be clearly outlined for students. All clubs should have the same rules, and they should be enforced for everyone.

Currently, several clubs (including the Bike Club and Chess Club) that are not affiliated with South include graphics on their signs. This clip art seems fine.

It is the controversial clubs that the administration worries about, and that is understandable. They have a difficult job when it comes to deciding what is appropriate for the school and community as a whole.

For example, the administration has allowed for a pro-life club, and this should be commended. And if this club wanted to include graphic images in its posters, they shouldn’t be allowed. However, images like harmless clip art should be acceptable.

Also, one School Board policy has been brought up. This policy mandates that no employee of the district can be an adviser or participate in a non-school sanctioned group. This particular rule is not being followed by many clubs at South, including the foreign language groups. It is doubtful that many of the advisers are even aware of this rule.

But if an employee is willing to stay before or after school to advise a club, they should be permitted to do so as long as they do not personally advertise or promote the group during class time. If the sponsor of a group, such as the Ski Club, wants to go and ski with the students, then that should be allowed. The current Board policy does not allow for this, and needs to be altered.

Taking down the GSA posters by South leaders is surprising, and policies regarding posters and advisers of non-school sponsored clubs must be re-evaluated. If this is done, it will show that South is becoming more accepting of different opinions, even controversial ones.