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Gay-Straight Alliance Club Approved for Seaford High School

Board of Education approves after school program thanks donation by community resident.

A Gay -Straight Alliance (GSA) Club has been approved for thanks to a donation from a community resident.

The Seaford Board of Education voted unanimously at its Thursday night meeting to allow the formation of Seaford High School’s first GSA Club for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. The school board also approved a $683.50 donation from Susan Ruona that will pay for the club’s advisor.

Ruona was motivated to help jumpstart a GSA in Seaford after her son Scott and other openly gay students at the high school were unsuccessful last year in a petition drive to launch the club due to a lack of funding in the district. Scott Ruona graduated Seaford last year and while he is now attending Georgetown University, his mother decided it was important to step forward with initial funding for a GSA because of the need she saw for it last year from many of her son’s friends.

“I view this differently than a club,” said Ruona during Thursday’s school board meeting prior to the GSA being approved. “I view it more as a wellness or awareness program.”

Ruona attended the first Long Island Gay Parents-Teachers Association meeting on Nov. 2 at the new  in Garden City where a main topic of conversation was the importance of having GSA clubs in schools. Other nearby Long Island districts that have approved GSAs in their high schools include Plainedge, Levittown, Garden City and Valley Stream.

Some broad goals that the Seaford students wrote in their petition for the new GSA include:

  • To create an alliance of students committed to reducing harassment and bullying.
  • To combat the negative affects of exclusion.
  • Encourage and support tolerance, acceptance and positive relations among all students.

The Seaford Board of Education approval of a GSA comes as a new state law called the Dignity for all Students Act gets set to take effect in July that requires New York districts to formally address bullying in their curriculum.

“Having an active GSA in your high school or other schools fits right into everything that is in the new laws and regulations related to the Dignity for all Students Act," said Seaford Superintendent of Schools Brian Conboy.

Ruona and other Seaford residents urged the school board at Thursday’s meeting to fund the GSA in next year’s budget and not rely on a donation from the community. The Seaford School District is operating on a contingency budget this year after voters rejected proposed spending plans last and .

“I thank Susan for funding this but I would also say that this should be something that the school funds next year and not have to count on a resident to do it,” Russ Klein said.

“I think this will do a lot to bring awareness and understanding among the students," Maureen Canter said. 

“Every time I hear a child killing himself, hanging himself, shooting himself… it breaks my heart,” said Ruona referring to how many gay teenagers get bullied and resort to suicide. “If this would even help one kid, it’s money so well spent.”

Chris Wendt February 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM
It remains to be seen whether Seaford can develop a budget that the voters will pass in May or June. Generally, extracurricular activities (Clubs, etc.) are not cut before the fact by the school district, yet after the fact of a twice-defeated budget, school districts are prone to cut extracurricular activities from the resulting contingent (austerity) budget, subject to their being reinstated through fundraising donations. I have no opinion about the GSA (Club), any more or less than I would have about the Astronomy Club or the FBLA Club. Those activities exist for the students who request them and who support them though their participation and fundraising efforts. While a lot of column space was allotted here for discussion and exchanging ideas, in reality no discussion was warranted. This article was not a poll nor a referndum to approve or disapprove the creation of the Seaford GSA (Club). The school board has already taken the only vote necessary to establish the club and to fund it by accepting the generous donation given to pay for its advisor.
weesie February 17, 2012 at 01:38 PM
really ?? where not in Seaford not in the High School. The school are only begining to talk about such things , due to the new law.
weesie February 17, 2012 at 01:39 PM
do not worry a parent stepped-up and paid for this. Why do you think that these students will sit around and talk about sex. People who are gay have morals. This is the reason we need groups like this, support , to let the kids know you are not alone. This is a group that will give support and education. And to answer why we need these clubs today, maybe it is to give support to children who feel like no one listens to them. Must of the kids are being raised by the media . not the family structure.
Debbie March 09, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Well said Mr. Wendt. As long as the club does not harm or hurt any one person or persons, then students should be allowed to form a club(s). I would also like to say that if we teach our children at home to respect one another than none of this would be an issue. But we will always have those ignorant or blind parents that don't what's going on in their childrens' lives or say "not my child" I will tell this to anyone who chooses ignorant or says "not my child" ... join facebook -friend request your child...they put just about everything on facebook that's going on in their lives...if he or she chooses not to accept your friend request - that's your first clue that something is going on that they don't want you to know about. If he or she chooses to accept your friend request, you can see the what's going on in their lives. As much as I dislike facebook, the good side to it, is that, there is a world of information on your child's facebook page....who they hang with, what happened over the weekend, what happened at school, etc. My husband and I are "friends" on all our childrens facebook. Of course they could have another facebook page that we don't know about, but with a little computer savy...you can find this out through history pages, and the facebook network pages. It's time we that we get educated on what are children are doing these days both in school and on the computer. It's time for parents to take the reins and, once again, be "smarter" than our children.
Paul Schulz May 17, 2012 at 04:10 AM
This whole topic comes down to eternity. Those who disobey the ten commandments and advocate a life style which disobeys the ten commandments may be spending their eternity in hell. The ten commandments are written on the hearts of men. God is a merciful God, but he is a just God. Non are so blind as those who (will) not see.

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