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Pedro Menendez High School senior Marissa Burrier and other students at the school sought permission from principal Robert Allten to form a GSA last month. Allten refused to allow the GSA but said he would approve an unofficial “tolerance group” which would not be considered an official school club and would not have the privileges other clubs receive. “We just wanted to start a club where all students could feel safe, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Burrier. “We need a place on campus where all kids, gay and straight, can come together in a safe place to talk about how they feel.” Burrier and her fellow students sought the help of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Florida. The NCLR told Allten on Tuesday by letter that if he did not act with ten days to approve the GSA he would be hauled into federal court. “The principal’s denial of the students’ request to start a GSA and his attempt to force the students to change the club’s name and deny it official club status is clearly illegal,” said NCLR Regional Counsel Karen Doering. “Under the federal Equal Access Act, schools that permit students to form other non-curriculum based clubs must allow students to form GSA’s, and must give these GSA’s the same status and privileges as other club."Now, hopefully, the principal of this high school will take very, very careful steps for the next few days. Ultimately, he will need to decide to do the legal and ethical thing: allow the GSA to form. Back when I founded the GSA at Reynolds High (the second such group in my system), I don't think I had near as many problems as this high school. I never had to threaten a lawsuit and the principal of my high school was pretty much willing to work with me and I believe he did as much as he could, given the political atmosphere around Winston at the time, to protect LGBT students. The students who founded the first GSA in my school system though didn't have it so easy. Those students enlisted the help and aid of the local GLSEN chapter (which is no longer in existence, see www.glsen.org for more info). I don't know all of the details, and someone correct me if I'm wrong... the situation with our school board got so bad that it almost came really close to bringing a lawsut against the system. I do not understand at all the reasoning that must go through these people's heads. Principals and school boards must do a whole hell of a lot of rationalizing to get around the fact that not allowing this GSA is breaking a federal law. Some may say its because these people are standing for moraity and do not want homosexuality in the schools. Well guess what? Tough shit. The public school system is run by the government, hence, NO ONE can let their own personal, private religious or moral views dictate policy, laws, or rules for anyone else. That is America. I'm sorry if you don't like it. If you want to live in a theocracy... try an Islamic Arab country... America isn't a theocracy, it never was and it never will be. Get over and if you don't like it move somewhere which will allow you to tell everyone else how to live, based not upon the "law of the land" but rather your own fundamentalist brand of religion which is seeking to grasp control of and kill America's precious democracy and all of our freedoms.