Community divided over gay-straight alliance high school club

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — A proposed club known as the Gay Straight Alliance at Fannin County High School has divided some people in the community.

Mason Rice and his friend wanted to start a Gay Straight Alliance at his high school.

“It’s very important. This town doesn’t support gay people. If we have a support group for them to go to, it would be better for them,” he said.

Rice helped his friend start a petition to see how much interest there was.

They’ve garnered more than 2,000 signatures, but they’ve also gained a lot of negative attention from concerned parents.

Some students and parents told Channel 2’s Lauren Davis they don’t want the club at the school.

“This is no hate.  Whether you’re gay, straight or bi, we shouldn’t have sexual orientation clubs at our school,” Fannin County parent Stephanie Ensley said.

Student Emily Deal started her own petition on Change.org and titled it, “Don’t let homosexuality be pushed on students in Fannin County.”

It has more than 1,200 signatures, but she tells Davis she’s been bullied because of the petition.

“Nobody will talk to me now. Only my friends are by my side, but some have turned against me because of it,” Deal said.

Mason says the club would be voluntary and they just started it to bring love and acceptance, but it’s done the opposite.

“There shouldn’t be any bullying.  People should just come together and love people for who they are,” Mason said.

The principal told Davis he’s not against the club, but they must follow the guidelines.

Under current guidelines, new clubs must start at the beginning of the year.

Students in support of the club say they will try again next year.