Hannah Kreider, 16, left, and her sister, Grace, 14, are forming a Gay Straight Alliance at Franklin High School. Hannah is a lesbian, while Grace is straight. - Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

Archived Story

Sisters united

Published 8:36am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

FRANKLIN—Sixteen-year-old Hannah Kreider is gay.

Her younger sister, Grace, is not, yet they have a total understanding for each other’s preferences.

The two Franklin High School students want to provide a better connection between gay and straight teens — a place where they can talk to others. That’s why Hannah, a junior, and Grace, a freshman, are forming the Gay Straight Alliance at FHS. The tentative first meeting is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the school.

“I’ve been so blessed to have (the support of) family and friends,” Hannah said. “I feel like I need to give back and give an open forum (for others) to feel safe.”

The Kreider sisters got permission to form the Alliance from FHS Principal Rodney Berry, who said he had no reaction to the request.

“Students have the right to form an organization and have the right to meet on school premises during non-instruction time,” Berry said.

A teacher will attend the meetings.

School Board Chairman Bill Scarboro believes the Gay Straight Alliance will provide a healthy outlet for students.

“There’s been a lot in the media about bullying and about the bullying of students whose ideas about life may be different from other people,” Scarboro said. “That is the nature of the world we live in. I hope this works for them and it gives them another way to express their individualism and deal with the fallout.”

As for Hannah, at one point, she was bisexual. Then at the end of eighth grade, she decided she liked girls more.

Hannah is open about being a lesbian and says her friends and others understand.

“I think most see who I am,” Hannah said. “My being gay isn’t the only thing about me. It’s an aspect of your personality.”

Grace was in sixth grade when her sister “came out.”

“I’m fine with it,” she said. “I couldn’t see it any other way. It would be really weird for her to come home with a guy.”

Grace remembers her friends being cool about the news, while some kids were mean.

“They used it as a tool to pick on us,” she said.

Hannah’s father said he wasn’t too surprised when his daughter indicated she was gay.

“I almost had a sense,” Kim Kreider said. “We have a very open relationship. We talk about all kinds of things, so it didn’t just hit me in the face.”

He wanted to be supportive.

“I came from a very conservative background where gay was wrong,” said the father of seven. “It’s different when it’s your kids, and it caused me to examine my beliefs. I realize a lot of kids grew up with ugly environments without support. I was determined my kid was not going to grow up that way.”

Kreider has found a network of gay adults and young adults for Hannah. For two summers, she has gone to a support outreach camp in Minnesota with 15 to 20 gay teens. She and her father also attended gay community events in Chesapeake and Richmond.

“My job has been to enable and support her,” Kreider said. “We make our home an open place for any kids. At times, we’ve had four to six gay kids there.”

“Hannah has that support,” he added. “She knows a lot of kids who don’t have a place. Some of these kids never have a chance to have that conversation.”

  • Andrijana

    Just curious here!
    Why I am marked as ALREADY VOTED in poll that was on TW web site when I DIDN’T VOTE, but it is pretty obvious that I would vote as “not wise to put it in high school” by my previous posts that were erased from this discussion board?
    How we can get fair results of public oppinion polls, if we are disabled to actually, publicly, say what we think?

    Suggest Removal

  • curious george

    Self respect! Lacking? Obviously.

    Attention? Apparently in extreme need of attention. How terribly sad.

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  • handkusp45

    All I can say to this family is “What did you think would happen when you put your family’s peronal business on the front page of the paper?” And I believe the TN is getting the exact reaction they desired. This was all exploitation
    of some teenage girls. Their parents, the school, and the TN should all be ashamed. This entire affair didn’t need to be aired for the whole city to see. As a Christian I believe what the Bible says about homosexuallity. It is sin. That’s not what I say. That is what God says. If you have a problem with that take it up with Him. Having said that I will tell you this. I would treat either of those young ladies just like everyone else. I would love them and pray for them. I would not make fun of them or mistreat them in any way. But I certainly do not approve of that lifestyle. I have friends that are homesexual. I don’t treat them any better or worse than my other friends. We should all treat everyone with respect ever if we don’t agree with them. I know I’m rambling now. I just hope this poor decision to publicize this doesn’t adversely affect those young ladies.

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  • NoComment

    @ Hilltopper… I would have to think your knowledge on this subject comes from having to make that choice yourself. What age was it exactly that you chose to be heterosexual?

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    • hilltopper

      @NoComment…U a funny funny dude haha…I did not choose to be heterosexual I was born that way…what your story?

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  • Supermomx7

    And, as I have thought about your response, I realize how hard this may have been for you to do. I understand this does not change your views on what you believe, but you now understand that maybe it is not as black and white as it first appeared. I thank you and my family thanks you. This is a difficult time for us and we are impressed by the support we have received from the Franklin community at large, this now includes you. May you be blessed.

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  • hilltopper

    @ any Krieder…In the article Hannah struggled with her sexual identity, if she discovers she is Bi-sexual again or straight would you consider another TW News article. Would she start an organization for her new sexual identity? Please do not remove my post and please answer my question as I would really like to know!

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    • Supermomx7

      I am a @Kr”ei”der, but prefer for my husband or even one of the others who have already posted answers to this question to address this situation. And I might add, I have not removed any posts. I am not sure who has, maybe they were offended (as I was) and couldn’t stand to see you slander my children and our parenting skills, I don’t know. If no one replies, I will give it a stab myself.

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      • hilltopper

        @supermomX7…it was never my intent to slander your parenting skills or your children…you put it out there in public and I disagreed…sorry if you call my opinions slander. You think yours is the right way and in my opinion “forced an agenda” I’m sorry if you disagree with me but I’m not going to roll over especially when I feel very strongly about my opinion. You must agree when you went public you HAD to know this would happen…if not…well I cannot believe that you would not have thought all this out.

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  • gmloretta

    Mr. Ed I didn’t mean that God don’t love gay people. When I spoke of Adam and Eve , I meant that He created A woman for a man !

    Mr Ed I knw that God loves all of us ,but not that sin. God created Eve for Adam .(man and woman) .Not man and man or woman and woman .And I don’t dislike gay people because we are all Gods children !

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  • Supermomx7

    This brought tears to my eyes, thank you “piper”.

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  • momondago

    i would love to know why my comments are being removed from this board i have not slandered these girl in no way i have jus stated my opinion just like everyone else of course my opinion was that i thought this was not a story for the front page of our local newspaper!!!

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  • franklinsince50

    does anyone know why there is no club for heterosexuals? why isn’t there a “white history month”? why is obama hailed as the first african-american president when he is also biologically half caucasian? he should be known as the first half black half-white president, shouldn’t he?why are black women all of a sudden hyphenating their last names? are 2 last names better than one? burning questions to be answered!

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    • momondago

      would love to see the answers on those question

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    • momof3

      This isn’t a club for homosexuals, it’s a club for heterosexuals and homosexuals, to deal with sexuality, and the bias of people relating to sexuality. There are plenty of heterosexual clubs, just ask any homosexual student who isn’t allowed to join based solely on their sexuality. Obama is hailed as the first African-American president because he is the first president who hasn’t been completely white. Everyone already knows he is mixed, the white isn’t as important because we have always had white presidents. White women hyphenate their names all the time so why is it such a big deal for an African-American woman to do it? Maybe it’s a personal choice, just like it is for many American women of all races.

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  • franklinsince50

    why in the world is that article front-page news? why do gay/lesian folks have to proclaim their sexual preferences? it’s nobody’s business but their own. tacky, tacky, tacky.

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    • momondago

      i agree not something i need to know or for that matter anyone needs to know. what ever they choose to be should be kept private or only on a need to know bases why does the whole town need to know? did they they think we would throw them a parade what kind of responce did they think they would get for putting there personal business on the front page of the paper?

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    • momof3

      Why is it ok for you to proclaim your sexuality, but not for someone who has different preferences than you? Heterosexuals proclaim their sexuality all the time, in fact much more often then homosexuals do!

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      • momondago

        well i might proclaim my sexual partner by being married. but i sure dont proclaim it on the front page of the tidewater news

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    • publius

      Why are you old and stuck in your ways? Tacky, Tacky, Tacky.

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      • momondago

        old maybe not as u old as u think!! tacky not a day in my life.

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  • amanda_cake

    A reasonable guideline for YOU and YOUR family, not everyone else.

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  • gmloretta

    All i have to say ,is God made Adam and Eve !Two of the same sex is not right !!Keep this out of school !Have your meeting at home,or rent a building somewhere !!

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    • Ed

      And I guess your meaning is that God made only one of these girls? They are both as precious in God’s sight as any other person on this earth. I hope and pray that you have no influence on any youth (or person for that matter) who happens to be gay.

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  • taterman

    With this article and the one about IP’s earnings I am about to drop the TN.
    Who cares about IP anymore or GSA in a highschool.

    IP put 1100 of our friends and family out of work.
    Run them out of town on rails

    People need to get back into the Bible and start living moraly lives.

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  • Andrijana

    Thanks K23851, that was nice that someone finaly answers without raging hormons mixed in it, instead of deleting all my posts.
    For cikadabuzz : >>and I hope that you will learn to find it in your hearts to accept someone for being themselves<<
    – maybe I am wrong, but thinking to know who you are girl – try to apply same value when you are talking about your "not cool" mom. Just getting you through her pelvis to this world means she LOVES you a great deal, even if you perceive it different, or you would be, maybe not so important part, of some frozen, steem-cell researh today. :-)

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  • rampage555

    Right, thats going to help. Lets pray for people to stop being stupid, thats definately going to work

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  • justbecause

    OMG! To each its own, but you are going to allow such function to take place in school where no mention of GOD is allowed! Read the WORD; Lev. 18:22, 1 King 14:24, Lev. 20:13, Romans 1:24-27. Do you have a BIBLE Club in your school! If not, start one! Staying prayed up!!

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    • amanda_cake

      Schools are allowed to have Christian Clubs… as long as they are student-led organizations.

      Exactly as this GSA is a student-lead organization.

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  • hwarford

    Finally!

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  • SandMan

    Come on, people……23 more comments & these chicks pass Sgt. McClenny getting his service weapon back!!!

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  • Andrijana

    I don’t have any special attitude toward gay people – it’s their personal right and choice, so please, skip that “bigot song”. I know few, as very intelligent, smart and talented people and, it is mostly all I can see and, what I care about, when I deal with them. Hannah is bright and intelligent but it shouldn’t automatically mean no one may question her ideas, or one that dares is immidiatelly considered enemy and offended. Then, there is no any real understanding in play.
    Questions are simple:
    1. Can school spent that money and time on something more useful and with less chery picking in differencies, making it broader and generalized – since people differ on many more ways but those 2, narrowly choosen.
    Aren’t academics, tutoring and such, more important than this? I am sure, Hannah herself is stright A student and doesn’t need much more studies or reading in a life – on which I salute her, but there is many, many more, other kids in school that still don’t know how properly to express themselves, read or write. Maybe those needs should be adressed first, as priority.
    2. From where will money come to fund those activities? Is there grant money included in it?
    3. Who will organize meetings, agenda, pay for speakers and educators, will they have structurized time or it is just place to “hang out” and socialize after schoool with no way of tracing any measurable achievemnets, goals and work progress?

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    • k23851

      Hi – Andrijana

      - There is no school money involved, and no instructional time
      - School rules require that all activities be student organized and led
      - There are educational materials available at no charge to the club provided by other GSAs
      - If the club wants to spend money on something, they have to have their own fundraisers (car wash, etc) like anyone else.
      - The club will continue only if there is enough student interest to make in active, and interesting, and making students want to participate
      - School rules are that it cannot be led or sponsored by a teacher, but a teacher must be present at the meetings just as sort of a hall monitor to make sure the kids behave — again, this same requirement applies to all clubs. The kids have to find a teacher who is willing to volunteer to attend a meeting.

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  • cycadabuzz

    And that’s why I’m here. I’ve been hannah’s best friend for eight years! (the joke is that I am kreider #7.5) She has me, her family, and all of her friends to back her up, and support her. she can handle anything. hannah is strong, and stands up for her beliefs

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  • cycadabuzz

    I have known Hannah for 8 years now, and I am proud to call her NOT my best friend, but my sister! She is one of the strongest people that I have ever met, I am appalled to see how many people would dare insult her, when they do not in fact know her. How dare you put down hannah for being an individual and trying to create something amazing that will help other members of the school community find a haven where they can truly be themselves! You have no right, if you got to know her like I have had the honor of doing, you would see how truly compassionate, smart, and fun she is to be around, and then you would not say such horrid, bigoted, and mean spirited things about her. I am really glad that I am her friend, and I hope that you will learn to find it in your hearts to accept someone for being themselves, and not conforming like most people are expected to. For all those have been commenting and encouraging her to go for this, I thank you, it means a lot to me that you are supporting her in an endeavor that she has worked very hard towards.

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  • localcitizen

    Wow, the multitude of comments and views on tis subject is astronomical. I say as long as no one is being hurt or taken advantage of, live and let live…

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  • Tarheel

    You know what’s going down the drain? Grammar and punctuation.

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  • momondago

    again i will say they are children. IN MY OPINION this was not a good idea for a front page story. im sorry if my opinion offends anyone it is not meant to hurt the children in anyway. this comment board is for opinions. and as far as the ones who called me names for staing my opinion YOU ARE WRONG. some have strong thoughts for the story being told and others think it shoulnt have been. i am a good parent i just dont go along with every choice my children make i educate them to the best of my beliefs and just because i dont agree with this situtation or story does not mean my children will suffer in any way. so with that said i still believe this was a story for a school newspaper not the front page of our local paper and thats my opinion. wrong or right we all have our opinions correct?

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  • Tarheel

    Hannah and Grace,

    Hang in the, girls. I posted this article on Facebook and I wish you could have seen the response to that rather than some of the pathetic responses on this forum. It was reposted and commented on and “liked” all day long by people from Franklin – both gay and straight allies – and by people who had never even heard of Franklin. There have always been gay students at FHS. I can count 8 off the top of my head who were my classmates (1990-1995). But they have not always had a support network at school. You have done something new and brave and noble, and you should be proud.

    Gay Straight Alliances are so commonplace in high schools that they do not garner front page headlines in most places. You will grow up and leave Franklin and the entire world will open up for you. Things that are a REALLY BIG ALL CAPS deal in Franklin are just not a big deal in other places. It’s amazing. You’ll see. Until that day, don’t let the closed minds of those around you get you down. Keep your chins up.

    Love,
    Brooks Rainey Pearson

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    • Tarheel

      Obviously I meant “Hang in there” and not “Hang in the”! The bad grammar of the TN comments section is contagious! :)

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    • clubber1

      I had this article forwarded to me through facebook, and after I read the article and saw the listed number of comments, I was expecting 138 bible quoters and people speaking for God with one or two relatives/friends speaking out in support of the girls who started the GSA.

      I was actually surprised at how many of the Franklin area responders were extremely supportive of the Kreider family, the two girls, and in defense of the parenting skills, tone of the article, and espoused generally positive views.

      Although I respect through the Constitutional right to Free Speech, that everyone is entitled to their opinion, what I found interesting was that every person that used their own name in one way or another was in support of this article, but that not a single person with a critical view was able to put their name on it (which makes a lot of these comments, especially from the obviously older readers, look like bullying via internet anonymity).

      Now a couple of points from Las Vegas.

      As for the Bible quoters, If you’re using Leviticus or Kings to make a point, just remember that these books are from the Old Testament when God had somewhat of a fire and brimstone temper, and liked to teach harsh lessons (Sodom and Gomorrah, smite thee, turning people into pillars of Salt and unleashing great floods, etc. etc. etc.)

      If I am going to take biblical quotations out of context, I prefer using parts of the Bible where the lessons are a bit more compassionate and not so final.
      Matt 7:2-5 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged
      John 8:1 – 11 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” etc.
      Twain and Nietzche are even better

      As for the people quoting or speaking directly for God, my understanding was that He has already had His spokespeople and in a mild coincidence they too used their real names as well; I myself will prefer to let Him speak for Himself at the appropriate time in the appropriate location.

      Now I am about the furthest from an expert on the Bible or God, so hopefully you will be patient if I missed a chapter reference or left out a smite thee or two.

      I went to FHS until 1986, and there were gay and straight students there when I was there, the same at ECU, Cornell and everywhere else I have lived and everywhere else I have worked since. It seems to me now that I have always known at least one person that was gay. All in all it is not a big deal to me except when I see that it seems to cause an illogically huge uproar in my hometown.

      Now back to my point, this story was not about sex, it was not about promiscuity, and it wasn’t a forum concerning whether 2 piercings keeps you in line to heaven and three or more piercings constitutes bad parenting and gets you a one way ticket to hell.

      This story is about giving people a place to belong, growing acceptance for intrinsic differences, and the bravery that it took for two young people in a very small town to create a paradigm shift.

      Hopefully, with what they have created, this can become the basis for easier conversations going forward.

      Karl Schwolow

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      • clubber1

        In case there was any confusion, I was glad to see the amount of supportive responses to this article.

        This response was by no means directed at Tarheel, but in 100% support of everything she said.

        The New Testament quoting was a reference for those that like to conveniently take the Bible out of context.

        And lastly, it appears that some of the people here need to brush up a bit on their Constitutional Government especially those quirky little Amendment thingys.

        Karl

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      • Supermomx7

        Very well said, thank you for putting into words things that have gone through my mind for days now. I have tried to avoid comments, as, I take my stand and not amount of bullying from adults is going to stop me from loving my children and supporting them 100%. I am so glad I came across your comment, it was very well said! Thank you again!

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      • momondago

        when did stating an opinion become bullying? we all have our opinion you having yours from las vegas people from franklin. think about when you were in school did you bully anyone? was it the same thing or were you jus stating your opinion! i think the people who dont agree with article were staing there opinion jus like the ones who agreed with this article. like i said earlier in my post i do not think this was an article for the front page of the tidewater news school news paper yes

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  • imhere

    Why is this a news worthy story? After this front page news of coming out I would think the bullying would be more.

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  • hilltopper

    @piper I agree…what kind of people would allow their young 14 & 16 year old emotionally immature children to be put in such a precarious situation. I keep asking myself what good is going to come of this and the bad outweighs the good. They have subjected these girls to the opinions of the entire community and why? This family must be watching an awful lot of Maury!

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  • whollyknit

    There’s always the option of cancelling your subscription or simply not reading… Freedom of speech isn’t just a 21st century thing.

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  • whollyknit

    Speaking as someone who is fortunate enough to call the Kreiders my friends, I can say that Kim & Robin have just about the best parenting skills of anyone I know. Their children are smart, creative, well rounded individuals who are able to find the best in people; the fact that most of Franklin will be too ignorant to embrace a lifestyle not their own is expected & typical. I applaud Hannah &  Grace for taking the initiative to broaden the minds in their peers; it’s not easy but if no one ever takes a stand nothing will ever change. There’s too much hate in this world already, but with people like the Kreider family there’s hope for better tomorrows.

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    • hightide

      Its obvious you do not know many decent parents…you are digging yourself in a hole and its time to let go of the shovel.

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      • clubber1

        @ the person that wrote

        “Its obvious you do not know many decent parents…you are digging yourself in a hole and its time to let go of the shovel.”

        I know whollyknit, as well as a lot of the parents she happens to know. Almost all of them are great including hers; some are a little challenged, but every place has a parent or two that are a challenge.

        What I am going to point out again here, is that this was not an article about parenting, this is an article discussing two people that saw something that was missing and had the courage to do something about it.

        Hannah and Grace have the fortitude to not only put their names behind a cause they believe in, but also to stand up in the most public forum that a small town can give and tell the world that they have their sisters back.

        The fact that this is a family that stands up for and supports each other, no matter what, is exactly the type of parenting that we need more of (although as I pointed out before, this article is not about parenting).

        Now in this specific thread entry, once again, someone has chosen to throw another stone from behing the anonymity of an internet post, not only that, they didn’t even show a user name at the top. Since this is the United States, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion.

        @hilltopper
        For you military service and service to the community, I would like to genuinely thank you. Although you don’t agree with components of this article and there are several people (including me) that do not agree with you, the freedom to disagree in a forum such as this is one of the freedoms that you spent a lot of time fighting for.

        @gmorletta
        …kind of interesting set of parallels you could develop with the Adam and Eve reference….

        …Was this #1, They get kicked out of the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of Knowledge and becoming self aware…and you want the GSA kicked out of the school system because of the knowlege and self-awareness they could develop?
        (once again, an Old Testament reference, God was more severe, lots of fire and brimstone, smite thee, etc.)

        …or was this an Adam and Eve as bad parents reference…Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, so it had to be bad parenting…I wonder if Cain had more than an acceptable amount of piercings? (once again my apologies for the Old Testament reference, I still prefer, some of the newer testaments including a psalm or two, and I forgot that this article was not about parenting)

        …or was this #3 the enlightened t-shirt reference that a lot of us had all been waiting for?

        My guess inlooking at the punctuation is a resounding #3, and my apologies to all of my Grammar teachers for any of my adventurous punctuationality.

        Once again looking in from Las Vegas

        Karl Schwolow

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  • Dropper

    This article is about a 16 year old girl who is gay. Nothing else. It mentions the club but tells nothing really about it. The bulk of this article is that there is a gay girl in Franklin, so what are we suppose to care? Good for her.

    Second I doubt TN came to them looking for the article considering that most of the High School has not even heard of GSA. Meaning that they provided the information on what they wanted the article to be about and what it is about is that a 16 year old girl in franklin is gay.

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  • amanda_cake

    As someone who you would probably consider to be one of the younger kids (I’m a high school student) I believe that I express my opinion BETTER than some of the adults on this forum.

    Don’t tar and feather a whole group because of the acts of a few people.

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    • momondago

      we can tell you are a teenager with out you even saying so and from other post you have made on other stories you are allowed to have a opinion jus like everone else but its all in the way you say them!!!!!

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  • k23851

    Hello Truth — Many of the things you say about the deteriorating state of FHS are true, and are serious concerns, and I agree with your point that should be a focus.

    I would like to challenge your statement “There are no clubs at FHS that are not intended for the purpose of education and extra-curricular activities that support education or career building.”

    FHS has a “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” club. How does that support ‘education’ or ‘career building’?

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  • rampage555

    ha very funny. you are the one with the issues. you have nothing better to do with your life than bash some teenagers? pretty pathetic.

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