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Gay-Straight Alliance allowed to gather at Chamberburg school until next week's board vote

The Chambersburg Area School District board has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to reverse its denial of a Gay-Straight Alliance student club or go to court with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, said three previous cases in Pennsylvania -- in Waynesboro, Franklin County, and Hermitage, Mercer County in 2009, and a third in Brownsville, Fayette County in 2012 -- stand as examples of what the school board should do.

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According to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, a Gay-Straight Alliance is a student-run club in a high school or middle school that provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other and discuss issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and to work to end homophobia and transphobia.

Jill Marcellus, communications manager for the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, said a Gay-Straight Alliance provides a "means for young people to change their school and take control of their own lives."

She said the club provides support for students who might feel like they're completely alone or might not realize there are other students going through what they're going through."

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