Questions come up after new student club organizes at TN school - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Questions come up after new student club organizes at TN school

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Controversy is now brewing over a new student club at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee.

Students launched the Gay Straight Alliance this week, but not everyone is on board.

"I don't understand it. I don’t understand where they're coming from, and I want answers. Everybody wants answers," said John Wimley.

Wimley is part of a group of people who recently learned about a new club called the Gay Straight Alliance at Franklin County High School in Winchester Tennessee.

"I don't believe there should be religion or sexual preference taught in any school," said Wimley.  

Wimley reiterated during our interview that his concerns are about how a student group is formed at the school and has nothing to do about a gay group.

District leaders confirmed they were contacted back in December after a teacher came forward and said she would sponsor the group after students approached her. The group met for the first time on Tuesday.

"It is not a recruitment tool or trying to promote an alternate lifestyle,” said Superintendent Amie Lonas. “It's more about tolerance and trying to treat people equally and with respect."

According to Lonas, the district has taken phone calls about the group for the past few days. Some in the community have also taken to social media to share their opinion about it, plan on attending the next school board meeting to ask questions, and are calling for boycott of Wimley's Winchester business because of his stance.

"My business is great. We've been very very blessed,” said Wimley. “At the end of the day, I want this to be out there so all parties know what's going on."

"I don't know what's going on with some people in that community, but it's disturbing," said James Robinson.

Robinson is a gay rights advocate in Huntsville, Alabama. His office was alerted to the issue on Thursday. His organization, called Free2Be, is waiting to hear from people in Winchester before planning their next move.

"If they want that, then absolutely we'll be out there loud and proud," said Robinson.

Lonas is just asking everyone to do their research before making any decisions.

"I think there's been miscommunication that has been put out as to what the intent of the club is," said Lonas.

According to district leaders, another group of students approached them with plans to start a bible study club earlier this school year. The district allowed the group.

Lonas said Franklin County Schools will allow any student group as long as they are able to secure a teacher sponsor.

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