Club Controversy: Gay-Straight Alliance Creates Backlash

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ELYRIA, Ohio-- A new club at Elyria High School is stirring up controversy within the community.

"About two weeks ago, a flyer went up for our Allies club, which is a gay-straight alliance club," said Maddy Massey, senior.

Since then, the club has grown to almost 30 members.

"The group has invited students that are straight gay, bi, lesbian, and transgender to attend a meeting and talk freely," said Principal Tom Jama, who supports the group.

However, not everyone supports this new group.

A concerned parent, Chris Sito, spoke to Fox 8 over the phone and says his concern is that it is a high school group oriented around the topic of sex.

"The language of the group says it is for five different sexual orientations. Five different sexual identities for individuals being invited to be part of a group," said Sito.

Sito says he's concerned over the idea of students having open discussions about sex when they are young at 15, even 14 years of age.

"I do not want to financially support a group that brings the issue of sex or sexual topics for students in a group," added Sito.

Sito is so concerned he's calling on other parents to vote no on Issue 2, a school renewal levy in May.

"The club has absolutely nothing to do with promoting sex. It has absolutely nothing to do with discussing somebody's personal sex life. It has to do with improving the culture here at the school and improving students and adults' abilities to be accepting of people even though they are different," countered Jama.

Elyria High Principal Tom Jama says moral objections are irrelevant in this case.

"Legally, the district must accept the club. Under the equal access clause, students have the right to assemble a group as long as they follow the protocol of getting advisors, getting a set of rules and regulations that pertain to the club, and they meet after school and don't interfere with the academic day," said Jama.

Monday morning, around 50 students held a peaceful rally in support of the club.

"These are children talking about premaritial sex and I have a concern about that. Even if the group was just straight, I would have the same reaction because it's a group discussion about sex," said Sito.

Sito is standing his moral ground and promising to pull his vote for the district's upcoming renewal levy if there isn't a change in the club's language.

"Look, you might vote no on the Allies club, but you are voting no for sports, music, drama, all these other clubs," said Will Simons, junior.

"That is what the Allies club is for. To be comfortable and accepted and be who you are and not be afraid of what other people think," added Austin Rubinoski, junior.