OXFORD – The Oxford School District Board of Education heard from a group of students interested in formally creating an Oxford Academy High School Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), who argued that the alliance would help promote a safe environment for all students.
Several school board members spoke in favor of the proposal and said they would work to hire an advisor to help oversee the group in the coming year.
According to student Alyssa Burke, the purpose of the alliance is to educate and inform the Oxford community about issues related to human sexuality and gender; to provide a safe and supportive environment for all persons regardless of their sexuality and gender; to promote acceptance of diversity, and to work with other clubs by participating in appropriate charitable, educational, and recreational programs.
Burke said any student may join the alliance, and that the organization will not discriminate in the acceptance of members of assignment of voting privileges, rank, or office on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability or handicap, marital status, or previous affiliations.
“We want to focus on helpful things that we can do in the school district and in our community,” said Burke. “Most importantly, we want to create an environment that all students can feel safe in by making sure students know what is appropriate.”
Oxford School Board of Education Member Tim O’Brien applauded the presentation by Burke and other students, and said it might be a year before the alliance is officially approved.
O’Brien said the group should start meeting now instead of waiting for that formal approval.
“I don’t see the issue with them meeting and planning now,” said O’Brien. “Don’t wait for the approval, start the process.”