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Madisonville students say school won't allow Gay-Straight Alliance

11:25 PM, Aug 30, 2011   |    comments
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After years of bullying, a group of Sequoyah High students in Madisonville, wanted it to stop.

"From 6th grade all the way up to my senior year, I have been put down for my sexual orientation, for "acting gay," for being an outcast," said senior Nathan Carroll.

He didn't want younger students to endure what he'd been through .

He started researching and decided a Gay-Straight Alliance or GSA is what his school needed.

"What this club is trying to do is to stop the bashing. It's giving us a confidential place to talk about it," he said.

However, that process hasn't been easy for Nathan or past students at the school.

"I spent my entire second semester trying to find a sponsor, someone who would be willing to start one with me. And everyone's thing was that they didn't have time," said recent graduate Zachary Piccione.

Nathan faced similar troubles. After two meetings with the principal, he decided to do it on his own.

"I said if you can't help me, I'll get my support and I'll pull it through," he said.

He started a petition and got 150 signatures. The students said another group of students started an anti-gay petition to stop the club.

Nathan said Monday the principal made an announcement over the intercom to the school.

"He said anything going pro or against GSA... if any petition is found, it is to be torn up and thrown away. Any student caught with it will be sent to his office for further punishment," he said.

The principal referred 10News to the Director of Schools.

"From what discussion I've had is that they were told or any organization or any one group, do not create a disturbance or an issue to disturb the instructional process at school. Period," said Mike Lowry, Monroe County Director of Schools.

The group plans to meet off campus even if they never get an official chapter started

Lowry said if the group follows the proper procedure for starting a club, they will be treated fairly and equally. The students say they feel they have followed all of the rules.

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