Dallastown Area High School's Gay-Straight Alliance club is screening a documentary on Wednesday they hope will encourage acceptance and reduce bullying.

But some Dallastown residents said they are worried the club and Wednesday's event promote "an unhealthy behavior."

The club, which has been around for several years, is screening "Out in the Silence" as part of the first-ever National Gay-Straight Alliance Day.

The event is at 6:30 p.m. at the high school and is open to diversity clubs throughout York County as well as others interested in the topic.

The documentary focuses on a gay student from Oil City, Pa., who is being tormented at school. His mother reaches out to a local filmmaker, who recently put an ad in the local newspaper announcing his marriage to another man, to try to help her son.

'Shouldn't be promoted': Former Dallastown school board member Carroll Tignall is trying to rally concerned residents to attend because he believes the district is being "covert" in promoting homosexuality, something he said is not what the majority of the community supports.

"They aren't supposed to be interfering with parental authority," Tignall said of the district showing a movie discussing homosexuality to students.

Tignall has been in touch with dozens of residents about the meeting, including Dallastown taxpayer Chuck Warner. Warner said homosexuality is a "choice" and is something parents should talk to children about on their own, not school officials on school property.


"If you have an unhealthy behavior, it shouldn't be promoted, just like tobacco or drugs," Warner said.

The club, which meets regularly to have discussions affecting the gay and straight communities, wants Wednesday's event to "be positive."

"This is a celebratory event," a news release on the district website states.

Superintendent Stewart Weinberg declined to comment on Tignall and Warner's specific comments on homosexuality, but did say Dallastown encourages its students and teachers to have an open forum.

Dallastown is proud to promote diversity discussions, he said.

"We really believe our diversity council in the school district is dealing with many of the different '-isms' that exist out there," he said.

Dallastown parent Elena Damrauer, who is a lesbian, said she believes the Gay-Straight Alliance club has had a profound impact, and its emphasis is on promoting diversity and tolerance, not teaching children to be gay. She hopes people will attend the event regardless of those who are against it.

"We're not going to let their negativity affect us," Damrauer said.

-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or ashaw@yorkdispatch.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork.com.