Salt Lake City, Utah – A cub scout group in Utah has been expelled from a local elementary school after it was determined that the Boy Scouts policy banning openly homosexual members and leaders from serving in the organization conflicted with the district’s anti-bias policy.
Approximately 30 children between ages 8 and 11 will have to find another place to meet or disband after they were booted from Mountain View Elementary School by principal James Martin. School board member Michael Clara, who is also a lifetime Boy Scout, said that he was contacted by two upset parents after they were informed that their children were being barred from using the building. He later received a call from the school affirming the decision.
“(He) confirmed that the Cub Scouts were prohibited from meeting in the building because they will not allow gay scout leaders,” Clara stated.
He told reporter Todd Starnes that he found the principal’s ejection of the scouts in the name of anti-discrimination to be ironic.
“It’s unfortunate this principal has the backing of the district to implement their own form of discrimination,” Clara stated. “It’s a form of discrimination in the name of intolerance.”
Therefore, Clara filed a complaint last Friday with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on behalf of the families and children that he believes are being discriminated against by the school.
“I believe it is an assault on the founding principles of our country for school officials to attempt to exclude a voice no less legitimate than its own from public school participation,” he stated. “A marketplace of ideas devoid of competitive viewpoints engenders an insidious society of conformity, contrary to the fundamental precepts of our Constitution.”
Clara believes that the district’s policy violates the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. The Act, which was signed into law in 2002 as part of the No Child Left Behind Act states that no school “shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code, that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code.”
Superintendent McKell Withers told The Salt Lake Tribune that he thought that the school was going to wait until the Boy Scouts of America releases its decision regarding the reconsideration of its policy before officials granted or denied the meeting request. However, that appears not to be the case.
Clara said that he feels that it is his duty as a board member to make his voice heard about the matter.
“[District representatives] don’t share my sense of urgency of the issues in my community, so my position is if you don’t share my urgency, then I’m still going to address it,” he asserted.