Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Intolerance is Awfully Costly to Taxpayers

Filed under: GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 05:35

Two Florida high schools in the Jacksonville-area are about ready to enter serious litigation after their school boards refused to allow students to form Gay-Straight Student Alliances (GSAs). GSAs exist to promote acceptance and tolerance among students and also serve as much-needed resources for gay and lesbian students who are dealing with issues related to their own sexual orientation. The ACLU has rightly brought-forth several lawsuits over the years against school boards for denying students the ability to form GSAs within their schools.

The vast majority of these cases have been won and taxpayers are left paying the costly bill resulting from officials’ ignorance and intolerance. The most recent case was in Okeechobee, FL. The ACLU successfully represented students who were denied their request to form a GSA within their school. The final ruling found schools must provide for the safety and well-being of gay and lesbian students and failure to allow the formation of GSAs is discrimination. That lawsuit cost Okeechobee Schools $327,000. In a time when our schools are struggling to meet the basic needs of students and the economy is in shambles, taxpayers can ill-afford to pay for these costly lawsuits that result from disgusting ignorance, intolerance, and discrimination.

Gay teens are at more risk for suicide than any other class of individual in America. It’s time taxpayers begin to stand-up against stupidity that not only costs quite a bit of money in a time where every penny is precious, but also perpetuates harm to a vulnerable group of people. Educate elected officials about intelligent decision-making and the costs we all have to pay when narrow-minded idiocy is selected over the right policy.

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