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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : VILLA PARK

Teen Group Takes On School Board

March 09, 2000|MARISSA ESPINO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A group of Villa Park High School students has formed an organization aimed at challenging the top school district officials on a variety of issues ranging from the gay club controversy to teacher salaries.

They want to know why the Orange Unified School Board is limiting extracurricular clubs for seventh- and eighth-graders and implementing restrictions on high school clubs. They want to understand why their teachers have not received raises for two years. They question why the school board continues to fight against El Modena High School's Gay Straight Alliance despite a federal court injunction allowing the club to meet.

"I think there is frustration with the leadership of the district," said 18-year-old Villa Park High senior Christopher Koontz, who spearheads the loosely organized group.

About 30 Villa Park High students participate in the student organization, whose members are encouraged to write letters to school board members and talk with them. Koontz said the organization was established in December when students began talking during a Junior Statesman of America Club meeting about the school board's decision to disallow a club for gay and straight students at El Modena High School. The club focuses on current affairs.

School Board President Linda Davis said the board discussed all of the student organization's concerns when it voted on the issues. Davis, however, is willing to listen.

Koontz will share the clubs' concerns during tonight's school board meeting.

Marissa Espino can be reached at (714) 966-5879.

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