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LAKE LURE, N.C. – The Board of Directors of Lake Lure Classical Academy voted in a special session last night to lift its ban on student-led clubs. A new policy will require K-8 students, but not high school students, to obtain parental consent to join clubs.

The board had suspended all student-led noncurricular clubs after some community members challenged an LGBTQ+ club that was recently formed to promote tolerance and equality for all students. The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) had urged the school to rescind the ban and provide equal treatment to all student-run clubs, including the LGBTQ+ club.

“We commend the board for allowing all student-run clubs to have equal access to school resources,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU-NCLF. “Federal law requires all students clubs – whether it’s a chess club, Bible study group, or Gay-Straight Alliance – to be treated equally. It’s also important that the new policy allows high school students to exercise their First Amendment right to decide what clubs to join. Students should be free to join LGBTQ+ and Gay-Straight Alliance clubs that seek to create a safe space and promote equality for all students on campus. ”

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) is criticizing North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for opposing a Virginia transgender male student’s challenge to his high school’s discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers. Gov. McCrory has said he will sign on to a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, that is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 

“It’s shameful that Gov. McCrory has gone out of his way to launch a mean-spirited political attack on such vulnerable students,” said Sarah Preston, the ACLU-NC’s acting Executive Director. “Students who are transgender should be treated with respect and compassion – not discriminated against because of who they are. The ACLU stands up for the rights of all students to be free from discrimination, and we urge Gov. McCrory to rethink his misguided political attack on transgender youth.”     

In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board for adopting a discriminatory bathroom policy that effectively expels trans students from communal restrooms and requires them to use “alternative private” restroom facilities

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LAKE LURE, N.C. – Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA) should promptly rescind its ban on all student-led noncurricular groups, including an LGBTQ+ student organization that was recently formed to promote tolerance and equality for all students, according to a letter sent today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF)  to school officials.

At its November 12 meeting, the LLCA Board of Directors voted to suspend all student-run clubs after some community members challenged the new LGBTQ+ club. In today’s letter, ACLU-NCLF Legal Director Chris Brook explains that the federal Equal Access Act forbids schools from permitting some student groups while barring others. LLCA has a history of allowing noncurricular students organizations, including a campus Christian organization, Raptors for Christ, that has met on campus for five years.

“The LGBTQ+ club does not seek special treatment,” Brook writes in the letter. “They simply seek to be treated the same as other student groups on campus, a right guaranteed to them by the Equal Access Act.”

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RALEIGH. – The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would prohibit local governments from enacting measures to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender North Carolinians from discrimination in housing and public accommodations. SB 279 has many other troubling provisions, including one that would jeopardize comprehensive sex education in public schools and could lead to the return of abstinence-only education. The provisions to remove power from local governments weren’t made public until Monday night and could overturn many existing nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.  

“The General Assembly has no business interfering in local decisions to protect residents from discrimination,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “Many communities in North Carolina have passed these ordinances with popular local support in order to compete for the best jobs and show that they are inclusive and welcoming places. This shameful bill would remove that local control and hurt our state’s reputation by sending a message that North Carolina sanctions intolerance and discrimination.” 

On September 21, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to those protected by the county’s employment nondiscrimination policies. Other state municipalities that have adopted LGBT nondiscrimination policies include Buncombe, Durham, and Mecklenburg counties, and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Charlotte, High Point and Raleigh.

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