Community Journalism, UCHS GSA

UCHS GSA: What can you do?

Edited to reflect time change for the school board meeting. Mr. Richeson is scheduled to speak during the school board’s workshop, which starts at 6 p.m., not 7 p.m. as I wrote previously.

What an exciting weekend this has been! The story of Union County High School’s Gay Straight Alliance has gone far, with thousands of views and shares around the world. You can find local television coverage of the issue here, and stories from blogs here and here.

I once again tried to contact Director of Schools Dr. Jimmy Carter and former principal Linda Harrell for comment. They have still not responded.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has shared this story. It is so important to me that the students know that people care about them. Many of you have been asking what you can do to help. Here are a few suggestions.

If you are a Union County resident:

Email or call your school board member. You can find a list of school board members here. It is an election year for the school board! If you don’t know which school board member represents your area, go here and scroll down to the files called 2014-district-x.pdf. Open those until you find your neighborhood. The chairman David Coppock is District 4. Their email addresses are linked from their names. I’m not going to put their home phone numbers online, but you can find most of them by searching

Also, contact your County Commissioner and the county mayor. You can find the commissioners’ info here. The phone number of Mayor Mike Williams’ office is 865-992-3061.

While we’re at it, let’s throw in your state Senator and state Rep. It is an election year for them as well! Frank Niceley is the incumbent and is running unopposed for state Sen. District 8. There are several running for state Rep., but incumbents are Dennis Powers and Jerry Sexton.

Union County is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Chuck Fleischmann, and Tennessee’s U.S. Senators are Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Why not drop them a line, too?

Come to the school board meeting. It is set for Thursday, June 23, 6 p.m., at the Union County High School auditorium. Consider standing in solidarity with those scheduled to speak about this issue.

For everyone:

Call or email Dr. Carter at 865-992-5466 or Attend the school board meeting if you can. Sign the petition to reinstate Mr. Richeson. Follow the UCHS GSA on Twitter. Write or email your state and federal legislators.

But most of all, help out LGBTQ students in your local high schools. Attend your local school board meetings and express support of equality for all students. This is not just a Union County problem or a Tennessee problem. Kids everywhere need support

Please keep sharing this story and watch this space for updates. Thank you again for taking the time to care about these kids.

4 thoughts on “UCHS GSA: What can you do?”

  1. As a former student at UCHS, as well as a former student of Mr. Richeson’s, I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for the support you have given us. Out of all the emotions I feel about this whole situation, the prevailing one is fear. Some of my best friends are the ones dealing firsthand with this bigotry. Thank you for showing all of them that they have a voice, and that they’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelby, thank you so much for your kind words. I just hope that the attention shown to Union County High School’s GSA students helps comfort them so they can do well in school and go on to great things.


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