Gay & Lesbian Group Fight for Equality - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/14/02

Gay & Lesbian Group Fight for Equality

The gay youth group's request to post flyers at Lubbock High School has been denied by the school principal and the assistant superintendent and as of Thursday morning, the school board. Now, the group is thinking about taking their battle with LISD to court.

"I came from a small town, and when I came out, people would try to hit me with cars, swing at me with baseball bats, call me names, just a lot of hatred," says GAP Youth President, Rene Caudillo.

Caudillo moved to Lubbock hoping for a change, and some acceptance. And by forming the Gay And Proud Youth group, known as GAP Youth, Rene was able to reach out to other kids in the same situation. "I wanted to help them out because I know I didn't have anyone to talk to, or nowhere to go, and I don't want that for other people," says Caudillo.

GAP Youth meets off-campus every other Tuesday, and now, the group is asking the school board for permission to post information about their meetings in the schools. But LISD Superintendent, Jack Clemmons, says that's not going to happen. "So right now, we're denying access because we possibly think it could be a disruption on campus and create an environment that is not safe for our children," says Clemmons.

Clemmons says the district is not denying GAP Youth, and their right to meet. However, as an unofficial school group, the district has a right to say no. "I  know that some of the board has concerns of our recruitment. Which I did not fill out any paperwork whenever I came to terms with my sexuality, there's no way to recruit anyone," says group Vice President Ricky Waite.

Waite says that GAP Youth is a positive group that will offer kids emotional support, and he hopes the board will reconsider their decision. The GAP Youth group has 15 members. Including both junior high and high school students from LISD and Frenship. The Lubbock chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is working with GAP Youth on a possible law suit.

Superintendent Clemmons says they'd like to avoid a lenghty, costly, legal battle. School Board President Mark Griffin says that the trustees will likely meet in closed session at their next meeting in December. After that, they'll be able to give GAP Youth a final answer.

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