Gaylord High School in Louisiana has become the center of a national debate about the merits of allowing openly gay students to join the school’s football team.
Gaylord Public Schools has announced that they are moving to ban gay students from the football team due to concerns about “safety.”
The announcement came in response to an online petition signed by more than 60,000 people that calls on the school district to make the decision based on “safety concerns.”
The petition asks Gaylord Superintendent Bill Green to reverse the decision and allow gay students who are accepted into the school to join.
“We believe that the safety of our students is paramount, and we feel strongly that allowing students who do not feel safe to participate in school activities in this manner would have no impact on the safety or well-being of the students,” Green said in a statement.
“Therefore, the Gaylord School District has decided to allow all students to participate on the football field in a manner that is consistent with their personal safety.”
Gaylord’s decision has reignited the debate about whether the school is upholding the values of its students, including gay athletes, or whether it is being discriminatory.
The controversy began when a group of gay athletes were allowed to join a Gaylord high-school team in the fall of 2015, but the team was not allowed to play football.
The school also allowed gay students with sexual orientation problems to play on the team, but only after they signed a nondiscrimination contract and agreed to abide by the school policies and practices, which were written into their contracts.
The LGBT community has long complained that the school was being intolerant toward its LGBT students, and that it was discriminating against them because of their sexual orientation.
The petition was created by two students who were expelled from a Catholic school in Maryland for being gay and filed it anonymously.
It was backed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.
Gay rights advocates have also called on the state to end its ban on openly gay athletes.
The Louisiana state legislature last year passed a law that would allow gay people to participate, and Gov.
John Bel Edwards signed the law into law in October.
LGBT rights groups say the school should not have made the decision to ban gays from the team based on safety concerns.
“This decision sends the wrong message about how schools treat LGBT students and is a step backwards for Louisiana’s LGBT community,” said Lola Brinkman, the executive director of Equality Louisiana, a state advocacy group.
“If the state continues to treat LGBT people like second-class citizens, it will send the message that the LGBT community is the enemy.”
Gay rights activists say the ban on gay students in the school comes at a time when more than 30 states have enacted anti-discrimination laws.
The state has also seen a surge in anti-gay violence, with a spike in the number of hate crimes reported in 2016, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A recent survey of LGBT people across the country found that 58 percent of respondents had experienced at least one hate crime, with most of the incidents occurring since the election of Donald Trump.
In addition to the ban in Louisiana, the school also said it would no longer accept students with disabilities.
The ban is set to go into effect on July 1, 2019, but supporters of the ban say that the suspension of the school will be lifted after the first day of school, in August.