G.S.A. is No Longer a Club at Taft

Jack Morris, Copy Editor

After 22 years of existence at Taft, the Gay Straight Alliance (known as the Genders and Sexualities Alliance as of 3 years ago) has ceased to exist. Originally sponsored by Ms. Brownell in her classroom in C111, the club was discontinued this year as a result of her move to R building, as there are not enough students willing to make the walk there for the club every Wednesday at lunch.

Ms. Brownell has hosted G.S.A. for over 20 years at Taft, allowing a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Its purpose has been to host social activities, political activities, field trips, and educate others on the LGBTQ+ community, averaging 25-50 students participating in events every year.


Michael Owen Baker
Taft High junior Alex Sandoval, left, Ms. Brownell meet in the classroom on April 19, 2012. This photo is from an article by 4LAkids about the cuts of health classes in the district.

The club’s downfall, R building, was re-introduced this year, surprising many students when the elusive classrooms were added to their schedules. Students didn’t even know that there was an R building at Taft, and had to be instructed where R building actually was on campus. Its use has created various conflicts throughout the school, with some students needing to walk all the way from the library to R building for their next class, crossing the entire length of our vast campus in only 7 minutes.

R building has truly inconvenienced the students of Taft, and it’s a sad truth to be told that some clubs are vanishing as a result of it. Especially a club that has such a long and proud history on our campus. Hopefully, administrators will be able to either find another sponsor or another room for the G.S.A. in the future. As R building seems to be sticking around for at least a little while longer.

At the beginning of the year, once students realized that Ms. Brownell no longer resided in C building, the club looked for other options, but eventually ceased to meet with no solution being found. Essentially, nobody wants to come out to R building because there is simply not enough time in lunch to go all the way to R building and eat lunch as well, especially if your next class was across campus. Ms. Brownell is not the only teacher to see a loss of clubs, Ms. Murphy has experienced a similar dilemma as well. In previous years Ms. Murphy was hosting two clubs before her move to R building. Now, both are inactive after her move.

Ms. Brownell has also noticed fewer people asking her for condoms, but more people asking for advice on their pregnancies. She was 2nd in the district for distributing the most condoms for many years, but less than 20 kids have asked all school year so far.

Ms. Brownell hosted both Sex Squad and the Genders and Sexualities Alliance in the past, before her move, but now both are no longer active. Ms. Brownell has discussed the idea of longer bell schedules but said that the idea just cuts into important information to be taught about nutrition, sex ed, and other essential topics for students to know and understand during the regular class time.

The GSA remains hopeful that they will be able to find a solution, a new venue for meetings, or a teacher to take up the torch, but until then, for all those looking for Ms. Brownell, you can find her behind the baseball fields, hoping you will come and join her.