Harnett County high schooler says school turned down proposed LGBT club

HARNETT COUNTY NC -- A Western Harnett High School student says a group has tried time and time again to start a school organization that supports students who identify as gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and other varying sexualities, but that the school turned down the proposal every time.

Western Harnett sophomore Alex Bonertz, 15, says the students lined up a teacher sponsor for the club and that the school's principal, Christopher Pearson, turned the proposal down.

"Mr. Pearson tells us 'You can't have it because one, what if it offends the Bible studies club?" Bonertz said. "And our argument is 'What if that offends us?' I myself, it doesn't offend me, myself, but it offends some people I know."

Bonertz said she identifies as a bigender lesbian (meaning she identifies with both genders, but has a female dating preference), and says the students petitioned the school three times to start the club.

"First petition had over 300 signatures, got rejected. Second petition over 500, got rejected. Third petition, I think, over 800 signatures, still got rejected," Bonertz said.

"None of the other clubs had to have a petition," she added. "They just had to say 'Hey, we have a faculty sponsor and we have a place to meet. We have a time to meet,' (Mr. Pearson) said sure."

Harnett County Schools says it never asked the students to petition.

The school district told ABC11 in a statement:

"Western Harnett High School has many clubs. The principal of Western Harnett High has not been approached by any students this year about forming a LGBT Club or support group. He never stated to students that this would upset the Bible Club nor did he mention starting petitions. The principal would be happy to meet with the student(s) and consider this request, just as he would any other non-curricular club request.
There should be no reason this request should not be approved."

Bonertz said she refutes the statement put out by Harnett County Public Schools and hopes Western Harnett High School will now have an LGBT club.
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