COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While complying with a federal mandate to allow the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) organization on campus, Principal Eddie Walker of Irmo High School has resigned in protest based on "a conflict with my professional and religious beliefs."
In response, C. Ray Drew, Executive Director of South Carolina Equality, states "It's unfortunate that this principal is so grossly misinformed about the intent of a GSA group. This group is forming to provide support for gay, lesbian, and straight students-a reprieve from the often hostile environment in our schools.
Drew continued, "Statistics on harassment and violence for gay students are astounding. Gay students face more verbal harassment and physical violence than any group of students. In fact the conditions are often tortuous. We would never allow these conditions for any other group of students in our schools."
According to a recent report compiled by the National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs:
- 31% of gay students have been threatened or injured in the last year
- 18% experience physical assault because of their sexual orientation
- Gay students are 5 times more likely to skip school because of safety concerns
Reverend Bennie Colclough, the minister of Providence Christian Church and a member of the Board of Directors of South Carolina Equality stated, "I ask Mr. Walker to join me in prayer for these gay students who face wholesale discrimination and harassment every day of their school year. Discrimination is simply immoral."
Drew said, "Four out of five gay students report that they don't know one supportive adult at school. Principal Walker further alienates these students and causes them greater harm."