Judge Orders Pendleton Heights HS To Let Gay-Straight Alliance Advertise Events – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather

PENDLETON, Ind. (WISH) – A Federal Court judge ruled on Wednesday that Pendleton Heights High School must allow the Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance to use school resources to advertise events as other student groups do.

Indianapolis U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney II issued a preliminary injunction against the school and the South Madison Community School Corp. He said in the ruling that the high school had allowed at least one other “non-program” club to use advertising resources and must grant equal access to other clubs.

Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance filed a federal complaint in September after being told it was “unofficial.” The designation meant that the student club could not publicize its existence on bulletin boards or the high school radio station, or raise funds on school property as “official” student groups can.

Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance, however, was given permission in September to resume meetings with a faculty sponsor after school hours at Pendleton Heights High School.

The lawsuit filed on September 22 in federal court in Indianapolis is against the South Madison Community School Corp. and Connie Rickert, the school principal. South Madison Superintendent Mark Hall did not immediately respond to a News 8 email after the ruling. The school district suspended classes from Monday for its second term break, which ends Jan. 3.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Madison County School student group. A press release in September, from the Indiana ACLU, said the group “enables gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and allied students to meet and support each other socially, emotionally and educationally.” .

The lawsuit argues that the principal’s actions create barriers that other groups of students do not face.

“The differential treatment faced by administrators at the Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance is unwarranted and these students should be treated the same as all other student groups are treated,” said Kit Malone, advocacy strategist at the ‘Indiana ACLU, in the statement. .

The lawsuit asks the court to show that the district violated federal law and free speech rights in the US Constitution, and to grant the Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance the same privileges as any other group of students.

Pendleton Heights High School, which has approximately 1,400 students, is located approximately 14 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

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