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Despite a rocky start last school year, the Gay Straight Alliance club at Robert D. Edgren High School on Misawa Air Base is going strong.

Then-seniors Samantha Cannon and Emely Vallee founded the club in the fall of 2007 and soon faced restrictions not placed on other clubs, according to a Stars and Stripes report. But they and other students fought to get their small club on the same footing as other non-curricular activities.

The club currently has 22 active members, Laurie Kuntz, the club’s faculty advisor, said in an e-mail to Stripes.

The club still struggles with acceptance and support from the school’s administration, she said, but there are some teachers who support it.

Edgren High School Principal Jeff Arrington said in a phone interview Tuesday that the GSA is afforded the same opportunities as any other non-curriculum club, such as using school facilities for meetings and being listed.

As a non-curriculum activity, GSA is a "student-led group" and "it’s not treated any different," Arrington said. "Anything where students get together for the overall benefit of students is a good thing for kids."

Kuntz said she can already see the difference the club has made at the school.

"The expression, ‘That’s so gay,’ is not used as much as it was before," Kuntz said. "Students are more aware of how hurtful some of these derogatory statements can be. I credit GSA for spreading this awareness."


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