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Issues

Gay-Straight Alliances

Bullying causes a stressful environment and emotional strain, which can increase the risk of suicide. Gay-straight alliances are a helpful resource for LGBT youth. GSAs provide a safe, supportive environment for LGBT students and work to make schools safer and more welcoming for all students. Gay-straight alliances or similar groups cannot by legally prohibited by an Illinois public school.

The federal Equal Access Act prohibits “the restriction of limited open forum on basis of religious, political, philosophical, or other speech content.” This applies to all public secondary schools which receive federal funding. Though the Act provides exceptions for the school to maintain “order, discipline, well-being, and attendance concerns,” these are likely to fail as a reason for prohibiting a gay-straight alliance.