The Gay-Straight Alliance group at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee, is catching some pushback from local Christians and parents.
A Facebook user named Kyle Palmer posted on Jan. 19: "I'm not usually one to rant on Facebook about things, for the most part I keep my opinion to myself but I cannot bite my tongue on this one. At franklin county high school a GSA club has been started. This stands for Gay Straight Alliance. When I heard this, I could not believe it.
"The fact that we could not get an approvement to start a fishing club at our high school but they approve a gay club makes me sick. In this society, it is not okay to offend anyone. Well what about Christians? What about the WORD OF GOD? If you are offended by this post, feel free to delete me. But I will stick up for the Lord until the day I die!!! #jesusjesusjesus #tillthedayidie"
Palmer's posting was reposted by John Wimley on Jan. 19, who added in all caps: "OK F.C. IF WE DO NOT BAN TOGETHER AND STOP THIS B.S. THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW THEY WILL HAVE F.I.M.A. (FUTURE ISIS MEMBERS of AMERICA) #PUTGODINSCHOOLSPLEASE."
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However, Franklin County High School student Allie Faxon defended the Gay-Straight Alliance to The Tennessean: "We all have common troubles. By having the club, even people who aren’t out can come and have a place to be themselves.”
The Gay-Straight Alliance got approval from the school in December 2015.
“We have a complicated county, and we have lots of differing points of view, and valid views and powerful views on both sides of this conversation," Jennie Turrell, a faculty adviser for the organization, said. "I think having this Gay-Straight Alliance allows for those conversations to happen.”
But that's one conversation that parent Chris Ball, along with Wimley, wants to prevent on school grounds.
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“Schools are for learning the basics we need to get a job after high school or get a secondary education,” Ball told the newspaper. “We’re here to teach subjects, not to promote certain ways of life.”
“We have to remember our kids are being caught in the middle,” Ball added.
The Gay-Straight Alliance group is voluntarily led and attended by students after school on Tuesdays.
A school board meeting is scheduled on Feb. 13 and at least two people have filed paperwork to speak against the group, according to Amie Lonas, the director of Franklin County Schools.
Lonas said the group is allowed to meet on campus per the Equal Access Act of 1984, a federal law.
“It should be taught by the parents,” Wimley countered. “If it’s not curriculum, it doesn’t need to be there.”
Wimley and Ball started a Facebook page calling for people to attend the school board meeting, but the page became a heated debate forum over homosexuality and is no longer up.
Wimley has caught heat for comparing the Gay-Straight Alliance to ISIS.
“Maybe it was a mistake,” Wimley opined. “But it was a statement that needed to be made.”
“When I talk to my students about it I say, ‘Okay, folks. This is outrageous. You don’t need to get worked up about it because you know it’s outrageous,’” Turrell said of Wimley's ISIS remark.