I got it on good authority a while back that the Georgia State Board of Education was considering a new proposition requiring parental permission for high school students to participate in after-school activities. Some critics had contended the requirement was designed to discourage participation in gay groups. But, as drafted, it would have affected a wide range of student activities.
I just got word from my friends at both HRC and Georgia Equality that, after hearing impassioned arguments for and against the proposal, board members voted 11-1 to send the proposal back to committee, a procedure that kills the rule in its current form.
From Georgia Equality:
Sadie Fields, chairwoman of the Georgia Christian Coalition, said she supported the proposed rule because it would "uphold the parents' rights to guide their own children's destiny, according to their values and beliefs."I'm gonna go celebrate with an ice cream sammich, then pee on my Republican neighbor's fence.
Parents and students who support Gay-Straight Alliance clubs argued, however, that parental notification would hurt gay students who have unsupportive families. The gay support clubs are in more than a dozen public and private schools in Georgia.
"Not all parents are good, as much as we want to believe that," said Patti Ellis, a Fayette County mother who said her gay son was bullied by other students through high school. "Students depend on teachers to be their advocates."
Micah Weiss, 17, a junior at Grady High School in Atlanta, was among a half-dozen students at the hearing who wore tape over his mouth as part of the national "Day of Silence," an event coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group.
Weiss pulled off the tape and cited the experiences of a gay friend who is frequently bullied.
"If he had to go home and tell his mother or his father that he was coming out, I don't think he'd have a place to sleep the night," Weiss said.