ACLU joins gender orientation, sexuality lawsuit

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WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS)– A national organization is now getting involved in a lawsuit involving Williamston Community Schools.

The lawsuit claims certain school policies are getting in the way of their constitutional rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) frequently takes on cases related to constitutional rights like freedom of religion or speech. And with a recent decision from a federal judge, they’re taking on a case that could impact hundreds of students.

Two policies meant to protect students from discrimination are still causing tension nearly two years later. A group of parents filed a lawsuit against members of the WCS school board in 2018, claiming that the policies based on sexual identity and gender get in the way of their families’ right to freedom of religion.

Parents like Nicole Ellefson who support the policies have been speaking out even before the ACLU got involved.

“The issue here is that this is a public school system and that we have to serve all the people who come,” Ellefson says. “And all that is being stated by the policies of the school district is that everybody has to be respectful to everybody else based on a variety of characteristics.”

The school board already has policies in place to protect all students from bullying and discrimination. Ellefson says the policy needs to expand and directly address sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity in order to completely protect its students.

“You can have your own thoughts in your head. If you want to continue thinking that LGBTQ people don’t have the same favor from God, that’s your right,” she says. “But it shouldn’t be able to be exercised in that particular way. You shouldn’t be able to discriminate against people in a public school.”

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