BEEBE, Ark. – A new club organized in Beebe High School is causing a stir in the district.
At the start of the scheduled school board meeting on Monday, two of the five school board members voiced their disapproval of the Inclusive Alliance for LGBT+ students.
For the first eight minutes of the Beebe School Board meeting, the new Inclusion Alliance club was facing criticism.
Beebe School Board Vice President Bennie Brock Jr. and Secretary Clay Goff both spoke against the club that states on its application it is for LGBT+ students.
“As a school district, we have an obligation to obey all state and federal laws, however as an individual, the club’s actions and beliefs are not my beliefs,” Goff stated.
Brock even said it goes against the community values he was elected to represent.
“How do I know the value of our community?,” Brock Jr. asked. “From El Paso to Garner, from Floyd to Cypress Lake Road there are 42 churches that serve the citizens of our district This tells us we are a godly community.”
These personal comments were not written on the agenda published before the meeting. One mother said following the meeting that she wished they had given a heads up so that a dissenting opinion could have known to arrive and speak out.
“I’m going to stand up for my kid no matter what,” Michele Lappin said.
Lappin is a parent of an LGBT+ former Beebe student.
“My child went there and has always struggled with trying to fit in and wanting to be included and be accepted, and I hate to say it, but this is why because this is where kids are learning it from,” Lappin said.
The club application for the Inclusion Alliance from the Beebe School District states that it met the threshold of gathering 50 signatures of students showing interest and support in the club. At least 25 students had to sign saying they wanted to join the club.
Inclusive Alliance will be the high school’s 16th club. Brock said it would be the only one based on any sexuality.
“If you can have a Christian athletes club, why can’t you have an LGBT club?,” Lappin said.
The application states “It would teach LGBT+ students of their culture and history and how to adjust to adult life as an LGBT+ person.”
Brock Jr. said he asked for the club’s approval to be decided by the school board but said he was told “the policy for club approval did not require board action.”
“As a board and a school, we have chosen the path of least resistance,” Brock Jr. said. “It is easy to say the law has prevented us from doing what we know as followers of Christ is the right thing to do.”
KARK 4 News reached out to Brock Jr. for an interview on this topic Wednesday. As of the publishing of this story, there has not been a response yet.
“It’s just sad to me that we are so against giving kids a voice and giving kids a community and helping kids feel like they belong,” Lappin said.
The remarks from some of the school board members do not change that the club will exist. It meets for the first time on Friday just like the other campus clubs.