CLOVIS, NM – Yesterday, in response to a legal demand letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, Clovis Municipal Schools (CMS) announced that it approved students’ application for a gay-straight alliance (GSA). High school senior Steven De Los Santos first applied for permission to form the club in late February. However, the application’s approval, which is usually a routine process, was subject to delay, uncertainty and an unexpected change of school clubs policy by the school board.
The law firm representing the school district, Cuddy & McCarthy, LLP, sent a letter dated May 4th stating:
“Please consider this letter as the “approval” you requested and permission for G/SA to immediately begin holding meetings after school at Clovis High School…Supt. Myers has directed the principal of Clovis High School to immediately contact the G/SA “applicants” and make arrangements for the G/SA to begin holding its meetings at the time and place requested in the application.”
“We are very pleased that the CMS superintendent has clearly and unequivocally stated that a gay-straight alliance is welcome at Clovis High School,” said ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson. “The ACLU will continue to keep a close eye on this situation to ensure that the newly-approved GSA is afforded the same treatment and access that any other non-curricular club enjoys.”
Currently, there are scores of GSA clubs in high schools throughout New Mexico and more than 3,000 such clubs in schools nationwide. GSA clubs help to provide a safe, supportive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies to be themselves and educate the school community about homophobia, gender identity and sexual orientation issues. Scientific studies show that students—both gay and straight—in schools with GSA clubs are less likely to suffer from discrimination, harassment and violence.
“This is definitely a good day for us,” said De Los Santos. “When I first started this club, I had little hope of it getting approved because of the difficulty students have had forming a GSA in the past. Today, I heard those words, ‘It’s approved.’ It’s phenomenal, so unreal, to think that something like this would happen in Clovis. From here things for LGBT students at school can only get better.”