Utah’s LGBTQ students and gay-straight alliances are being hindered by a short and simple law. Thus, it’s showing the large and unexpected effect that even the tiniest of laws can make.
According to ABC’s Salt Lake City affiliate station ABC4News, a 2007 law, titled Student Clubs Act, was passed by the state’s lawmakers. The Student Clubs Act mandates that high school students must get a parent’s signature to join an extracurricular group while attending school in the state of Utah. Unfortunately, that rule hinders students who wish to join a gay-straight alliance without coming out to their parents.
“We know these clubs have super huge benefits for kids in schools. We know they are literally life-saving,” said Alli Martin, vice-principal at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City, to ABC4News.
“Putting the pressure on kids to out themselves to their parents, in order to access that life-saving support, is really unfair to the kid,” added Martin. “We’re the only state that does that. Only state.”
Many school officials, faculty, and LGBTQ activists have recently pointed out this problem to lawmakers and the general public. But for now, it seems lawmakers are showing no signs of changing the law.
“Anything that goes on in those schools, on that campus, parents should be involved and always know what their child is doing,” said Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, who was deeply influential in the act’s original passing. “And they send their children to the public schools expecting that. Expecting that their children — that they’ll always know what their children are doing.”
Source: ABC4 News