Staffer suggests new, inclusive, diverse club

Brylee Huber, News Editor

   DISCLAIMER: This editorial is based on facts, but it is also my opinion and does not reflect the views of the entire Newspaper staff. If you have anything against it, please talk to me.

  Last issue, I wrote an article for the Great Dum-Dum Club, but this week is going to be a lot more serious.

   Many students in this school, whether or not you know them, are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

   In such a small, conservative school, a club focused on supporting these students would be a great benefit for numerous reasons.

   One is the uniting factor between students. As I said, there are many people in our school who are not straight and not cisgender.

   While some are out to their parents and friends, many are not. A club would give them the chance to see how others navigate doing this, and would give closeted kids the confidence to talk about it with others.

   Alex Cornine, junior, a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community was ecstatic to hear that even a single person was initiating this club.

   She said, “I’ve been out for a long time, but there are a lot of people who aren’t. Our town isn’t usually  accepting of LGBTQ+, so a lot of people need this.”

   Secondly, the group would serve as a place for educating others who do not yet understand this community.

   It would help show the real discrimination and dangers they face.

   To make this argument fair, I  also talked to many people who are not supportive of this becoming a club.

  The general thoughts are summed up by sophomore Kurt Keegan,  “I feel like it’s setting a target on members of the club, and the school for having the club.”

  People don’t join Book Club, FCA, or any other group because they think they are special, so LGBTQ+ would be no different.

   As for the risk of the school, it is a potential factor that the town isn’t supportive of such a club, but students’ safety and well-being should be more important than a few people’s negative views.

   Actually, many felt that a club which goes against the Bible should not be approved.

   That being said, controversy is the biggest downfall of a group like this like this.

Now on to a few proposed ideas of what the group could do.

   The usual gatherings could be a simple sit down style meeting like Book Club. Students would be able to talk freely about their experiences and struggles.

According to smithsonianmag.com, “When policies and supportive programs like GSA are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation.”

GSA, an acronym for Gay-Straight Alliance, is a national organization that focuses on getting LGBTQ+ clubs into schools.

   They focus heavily on the fact that straight people should join as allies, as well as members of the community.

   There can be three “versions” of a GSA club. Social is focused on meeting others of the community, Supportive is aimed at talking about their struggles, and Activist goes out to try and make a physical change.

   Of course, in a school, Activist would not be appropriate, but a Social and Supportive-focused club could encourage students to go out and make important worldwide changes on their own.

The most important part, though, is how something like this could be made in the first place.

   Clubs have to have a certified staff member of the school system designated as a sponsor, and a petition must be signed by 15 students.

   At this time, I have spoken to at least three teachers who are willing to help, and I am planning on starting a petition soon.

   After these two things are brought to the administration, a reason as to why the school should allow this group must be clear.

   Besides helping at-risk students (LGBTQ+ teens are four times more likely to kill themselves according to childmind.org), this group could host community presentations about their orientations, they could do public service projects and donate the money to organizations such as GLSEN, and they could provide scholarships to members of the club.

   Burlington could be the leader in this micro-movement, for an anonymous junior, who is bisexual, from Lebo said, “It would be awesome if Burlington had this because then my school might consider doing the same thing.” He then went on to say that he knows of at least five closeted students in his class who would also benefit from this club.

   Overall, this is the type of group that the school needs, not because it is focused on bringing money to the school, but because it could help the mental, emotional, and even physical state of students of Burlington and, maybe, the entire area.