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ASIA/PACIFIC - Dec 11, 2002

Kalaheo High School on the island of Oahu (coincidentally the alma mater of one of Utopia's founders) has chartered the first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) in the state's public school system. After repeated rejections by the school's administration, approval for the formation of the group was finally given after a united effort by more than a dozen students and faculty.

Students had previously refused to accept a "noncurricular status" for the club, which would have meant they could not have a faculty advisor, use the school logo, or raise financial support. Meetings with the school included supportive parents and grandparents. Students also received support from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Hawaii Safe Schools Coalition.

Stressing that the club's goal was to create a safe school environment for all students and to end anti-gay bias, the club was officially chartered in November with high school senior, Maile Shay-Mountain, as its first president.



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