South Carolina Principal Resigns Due to High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club

Fri May 23, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Michael Baggot

COLUMBIA, SC, May 23, 2008 ( - A South Carolina high school principal has gained national attention after announcing his resignation on Wednesday in response to his school’s decision to approve a “Gay-Straight Alliance Club” (GSAC).

Eddie Walker, the principal of Irmo High School in Columbia, cited the foundation of the GSAC as the reason for his resignation at the end of next school year.

“Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions,” wrote Walker in a letter to Lexington-Richland School District Five officials.

Walker also contended that the GSAC would conflict with the goals of the school’s abstinence education program.

“The formation of this club conflicts with my professional beliefs in that we do not have other clubs at Irmo High school based on sexual orientation, sexual preference, or sexual activity.”

“In fact our sex education curriculum is abstinence based. I feel the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Irmo High school implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes.”

Proponents of the GSAC blame religious bigotry for mistreatment of individuals who embrace homosexuality.

"We truly believe it is unfortunate that this principal cannot see the immense harm that is caused when a social climate of rejection, condemnation and violence is justified with misguided religious belief,” said Brent Childers, executive director of the “gay-rights” advocacy group Faith in America.

Another “gay-rights” advocacy group, South Carolina Equality (SCE), has even called for Walker’s immediate termination.

"Eddie Walker has created a liability problem for the school.  If a gay student is harmed, the District could be held accountable for creating a hostile school environment," alleged SCE Executive Director C. Ray Drew to WIS News 10.

“Every day that this Principal remains at Irmo High, students will continue to live in fear for their safety. These unsafe and dangerous conditions for gay students are intolerable."

In his letter, however, Walker explicitly discouraged verbal or physical abuse against future members of the GSAC.

“It is very important to me that the club sponsor and all students who join this club receive Golden Rule treatment from everyone.”

GSACs promote homosexuality as healthy and morally upright.

For instance, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSAN) was a key proponent of the California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act of 2004, which required that state sex-ed programs portray homosexuality in a positive light.

Political pressure from the GSAN and other “gay-rights” advocacy groups has produced strong legal protection for GSACs.

In its official statement on Walker’s resignation, the school district noted that the federal Equal Access Act forbids schools from prohibiting any lawful non-curricular club on the basis of its purpose or viewpoints.

Nonetheless, Walker’s Wednesday letter prompted the School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties to announce that it will reconsider it policy on the district’s relationship with extracurricular clubs and organizations at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

Walker acknowledged the difficulties the district would have faced had it refused to support the group.

“I bear no malice towards anyone involved. If the people involved at the district level had chosen not to allow the club to form I am sure the district would have been sued and the current legal opinions and precedents indicate that in all likelihood the district would have lost.”

Walker also agreed to continue as principle during the 2008-2009 school year, in fidelity to his previous commitment to the school.

“In my opinion failure to fulfill my contract would constitute a breach of trust with School District Five of Lexington and Richland County, my student heroes, returning Irmo High School employees, and new employees who have chosen to work at Irmo High school for the 2008-2009 school year.”

Walker was not available for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

See related coverage:

The Horrible Truth of Gay/Straight Alliance Clubs

Read the full resignation letter:,2933,357208,00.html

Express your support for Walker:

Principal Eddie Walker
  6671 St. Andrews Road
  Columbia, SC 29212
  Phone: (803) 476-3000

Politely express your concerns to the school district:

School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties
  1020 Dutch Fork Rd.
  lrmo, SC 29063
  Phone: (803) 476-8000

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