An MTSU alumna who has chronicled the formation of an innovative high school student organization was the guest on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Robin Fair, a social worker with Tennova Harton Hospital in Tullahoma, Tennessee, first aired May 29 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Under the mentorship of MTSU Department of Social Work assistant professor Justin Bucchio and associate professor Ariana Postlethwait, Fair, a Winchester, Tennessee, native, went back to her hometown to conduct her honors thesis before graduating cum laude from the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences in fall 2017.
“Gay-Straight Alliances in Rural High Schools Important But Still Controversial” was published Nov. 20, 2017, at www.youthtoday.org, a website for youth service professionals that is supported by eight nonprofit foundations.
You can read Fair’s thesis here.
The Franklin County High School Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA, drew protests and national media attention when students at the Winchester, Tennessee, school sought to organize it in 2016 to provide a support network for LGBT youth who felt they were being bullied.
“There were some parents who felt that being LGBT was almost like a disease, like you could catch it if you were around someone who was LGBT,” Fair said.
“One person actually said that it was similar to Marlboro Reds — you know, secondhand smoke.”
Fair said that the federal Equal Access Act permitted the student group to continue because ending it would have obligated the high school to end all other extracurricular student groups.
She maintains that LGBT teens need support networks like GSAs because they are at higher risk for truancy, substance abuse and suicide.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.