Last night, the Richland School Board unanimously approved the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance at their board meeting.
While he was denied the right to run for Homecoming King, Kasey Caron, a transgender student at Richland Senior High School, is glad something positive has come out of his ordeal. Kasey sparked an international discussion on the treatment of transgender students when he and his supporters petitioned for his right to be identified as male on the Homecoming Court. When speaking at a Richland School District Board meeting in September, Kasey additionally requested that the school board amend their nondiscrimination policy to protect gender identity, allow him to wear the male’s cap and gown during graduation, and approve the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance.
The main challenge in establishing a GSA, Kasey said, was finding a teacher willing to advise the club. After weeks of searching, business education teacher Sandy Myers volunteered. Myers previously taught Kasey’s eighth grade math class before moving into business education. Once a faculty member agreed to advise the GSA, the School Board prioritized voting on the club’s formation.
Kasey hopes to hold the first meeting next Friday. He is working with Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition Board Member Mike Campbell to prepare materials for advertising the club and to guide their meetings. Campbell was optimistic about the formation of the club, saying, “Hopefully this is just the start of the positive change happening in Johnstown.”
Richland is the first high school in the Johnstown region to have a GSA. Kasey said he hopes that surrounding high schools will follow suit, particularly neighboring Westmont Hilltop High School, where there is high student interest.
“Even after all of the negatives I went through, a positive came out of it,” said Kasey. “With the formation of a GSA, we will have students working together to prevent my situation from happening again.”
In addition to the approval of the GSA, Kasey told the Keystone Student Voice that he will be able to wear a blue cap and gown along with the other males at his graduation.