Formation of Gay-Straight Alliance approved

Liliana Castillo

Clovis High School senior Steven De Los Santos is preparing for the first meeting of a Gay-Straight Alliance after a month of uncertainty if the club would even be created.

“It’s exciting. I was just ecstatic when I heard. I couldn’t stop smiling. It almost feels unreal,” De Los Santos said.

Formation of the club was approved late Wednesday, Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers said.

CHS Principal Wayne Marshall met with De Los Santos to inform him of the approval Thursday.

In a letter faxed to Myers on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico threatened to sue CMS if the club wasn’t approved before the semester ends May 24.

“We did exactly what we said we were going to do,” Myers said. “That was certainly without prompting from an ACLU letter.”

De Los Santos said he believed the club would have been approved, just maybe not as quickly.

“I’m glad that they did try to push it. It might have been next year before it finally passed,” he said.

The request to create a GSA at CHS was submitted to the high school principal in early March and reached the superintendent’s desk March 30. During an April 26 board of education meeting, the board chose closed forum for the high school.

Closed forum means only clubs with a curricular tie can meet during the school day. Non-curricular clubs can use the school’s facilities to meet before or after the school day.

The GSA is considered a non-curricular club.

Previously, Myers said he believed the club would be approved before the end of the month. He said the district was working on deciding which clubs would be considered curricular and non-curricular. He also said the district needed to finish reviewing facility usage policies.

“As I said at the April 26 board meeting, we planned to use common sense to handle the interim and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

Myers said the facility use policies won’t be completed for another few weeks.

“We got the student organization policies reviewed, we looked at the request, we had lawyers look at the request and we approved it,” Myers said. “We said we wanted to get it done as fast as we could and we did.”

For the first meeting of the GSA, De Los Santos said he’s hoping to get everyone acquainted so he can transition club leadership to underclassmen when he graduates May 21.

“There’s not a whole lot more we can do at this point,” he said.

De Los Santos has a busy summer ahead of him as he moves out his parent’s home and into a dorm at Eastern New Mexico University, but he’s hoping to host a few meetings over the summer as well.