MISSOULA, Mont. — UPDATE: Superintendent Brian Rayburn reports that school board members tabled the issue on school clubs in order to get legal advice. The meeting adjourned around 11:30 p.m. Rayburn said the school board will likely address the issue in a special meeting, and that notice of that meeting will be posted 48 hours in advance.
A school board meeting in Florence is expected to get heated Tuesday, prompting administrators to move the meeting to an online format after they heard people planned to bring firearms to the previously in-person event.
The policy the Florence-Carlton School Board is considering doesn't specifically target one group, but a student club called the Gay-Straight Alliance has become the focus of protests on both sides.
The GSA is a student-run organization that unites LGBTQ+ youth and their allies to discuss issues impacting them in a safe space.
The school board is scheduled to run through a second reading of a policy Tuesday night that would require school administrators to notify parents of all formal and informal groups available.
Superintendent Brian Rayburn says the policy doesn't mean administrators would notify parents if a student joined a club.
Rayburn says there's a chance of a revived discussion about permission slips for all informal groups, but it was not included in the policy language passed by the board at the last meeting.
A far-right Facebook group called Stand Together for Freedom previously made claims the GSA is "recruiting and indoctrinating" students into the club without parents' permission. The group posted Monday telling supporters to attend Tuesday's board meeting and "demand no gay clubs on school property!!"
Debating the GSA's existence at the school is not on the agenda.
There's a newly formed group on the other side encouraging people to show up to support LGBTQ+ youth and their allies, asking people to oppose permission slips for informal groups.
A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found less bullying based on body weight, gender, religion, disability, gender typicality and sexual orientation in schools with a GSA compared to those without one.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. You can join the Zoom meeting here.