Bil Browning

Texas School Shuts Down All Clubs to Avoid GSA

Filed By Bil Browning | February 28, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Corpus Cristi, extracurricular activity, Flour Bluff Intermediate School District, GSA, Julie Carbajal, Texas

Are you ready to award the douchebag of the week prize so early on a Monday? I think we've got a clear winner already!

Corpus Cristi, Texas's Flour Bluff Intermediate School District Superintendent, Julie Carbajal, has krtillustrations000714-GAYKIDS-ILLU.jpgdecreed that all extracurricular clubs on campus will be shut down to prevent the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance group. Student Bianca "Nikki" Peet was blocked from creating the club and after a national outcry, the school decided to handle the issue not by creating an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance, but by discriminating against all students.

By canceling all extra curricular clubs on campus, Flour Bluff ISD hopes to avoid the Equal Access Act -- a federal law, passed in 1984, that requires schools receiving federal funding to offer "fair opportunities for students to form student-led extracurricular groups, regardless of their religious, political and philosophical leanings." The district still maintains that they do not have to follow the Equal Access Law.

Superintendent Carbajal claimed, "We need to be fair and equitable to all," but that is not how supporters of "Nikki" Peet see it.

As LGBT teen suicides have skyrocketed lately, do you think Carbajal will feel the least bit of remorse if one of their students gets her clear message that they're not worthy of respect and takes their own life? Somehow, I doubt it.

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David Castillo David Castillo | February 28, 2011 1:09 PM

Ugh...this makes me sad, Bil. I'm from Corpus Christi and I'm super ashamed of this bigotry going on in my hometown. Thanks for spreading the word.

Paige Listerud | February 28, 2011 1:28 PM

Since colleges and future employers don't just look at academic record but extracurricular activities when deciding on candidates, Carbajal has basically crippled all her students' academic futures. I can only hope that all parents raise a ruckus at the next school board meeting and every meeting thereafter until extracurricular activities, including GSAs, are allowed once again.

Way to cut off your nose to spite your face!

It's a quick easy solution to what in Texas(as a resident)would become a major issue. If there is a plus side ,for once its equal opportunity discrimination. Unfortunately as Paige pointed out that your additional activities are looked at by colleges. At least the potential collge bound can find volunteer work in a city the size of Corpus.

They aren't doing away with all extracurricular activities, just the ones that would trigger the Equal Access Act, i.e. the ones that are non-curricular, which based on the sanitization of the district's website is limited to kicking out the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Activities that are directly related to the curriculum, e.g. a Science club, are still permitted and do not trigger a limited open forum.

Also the article has a few errors in need of correction. It is the Flour Bluff Independent School District, not Intermediate School District. One of the schools in the district (for 5th and 6th graders) is the Intermediate school. The article also refers to Texas A&M Univ.-Corpus Christi as just Texas A&M several times, which could cause confusion with that University system's flagship school in College Station.

This is the school district I attended for 13 years, from kindergarten through graduation and I am ashamed of the way they are treating Nikki Peet and the other LGBT student at Flour Bluff and their allies. I already wrote a letter to Dr. Carbajal and the principal last week on this expressing my support for Nikki's efforts; however, I suspect that the decision is not being made at the level of the superintendent. There is a rather dictatorial member of the school board of the right wing religious variety that is likely over stepping his bounds as a policy setter and is instead micromanaging this decision as he has other decisions.

I can understand if they are going to follow the district currently stated policy, which is no limited public forum, but I imagine the board will catch a lot of flak for kicking the FCA and possibly several other clubs of a non-curricular nature off campus. Hopefully that will reconsider the policy since that is only likely to exacerbate homophobia and transphobia on campus as students blame the LGBT students for the FCA and other clubs being disbanded. I pointed out the need for the GSA/Tolerance Club against the backdrop of the suicide epidemic among LGBT youth in my letter. I was hoping the personal connection might help sway Dr. Carbajal as she worked with both of my parents before my parents retired from teaching in the district in 2003.

This is unbelievable, and and I'm surprised at how transparent the superintendent is being about it! I hate that he had enough support to think even for a second that a decision like this is okay.

Friday, March 4 ยท 9:00am - 5:00pm
Flour Bluff High School, Corpus Christi, TX

Facebook event page:

If you'd like to send a note to the Superintendent:
Or to the Administrators:

And the petition:

Some years ago (late 1990s), when I was serving as a commissioner of education in California, I was invited to participate in a Dallas school-district conference about LGBT issues. I was impressed by the concern and open-mindedness of the Dallas school officials, and hopeful that the door was opening wider for LGBT students in Texas.

Unfortunately it now looks like homophobes are trying to shut the door tight.

This comes as no surprise. Read the Texas Republican Party platform: they want to reinstate the sodomy laws (outlawing oral and anal sex) and advocate jail terms for anyone performing a same-sex marriage.

They did this in 1996 in Salt Lake City, banning all clubs to keep the GSA out. That's because the Supreme Court ruled that it was discriminatory to keep only GSA's out in Board v. Mergens:

It's an old trick and it's constitutional, isn't it, based on that precedent? Still is likely to spark protest, unless the classmates do like they did to Constance McMillen and get mad at their fellow students instead of the administration.

That's the way things work nowadays: Get mad at your fellow rubes and let people in power do what they want.

There is only thing about this that surprises me. They couldn't find a way to make an athletic group something that would fit within the guidelines of a curriculum group.

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