Authored By Kara Zupkus
July 26, 2019
After months of battling several biased administrators and teachers, a Young Americans for Freedom chapter has succeeded in gaining recognition from Lake Forest High School in Illinois.
But why did the students have to struggle so long just to simply get the school’s permission to have meetings and do events?
To find out, Young America’s Foundation submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the school to monitor the situation.
“I question whether this group is appropriate for our school and students,” one teacher at Lake Forest High School said in an internal email obtained by Young America’s Foundation.
In another internal email, a teacher inquired about the “premise” of the group, stating “to be forthcoming and transparent, a group was formed earlier this year with extreme politics and ideals, mostly dealing with hate, racism, and homophobia, and certainly I am not comfortable with a group like that again.”
Alisa Giannelli, the co-founder of the YAF chapter at LFHS, said that two years earlier, a student tried to start a YAF chapter but was told that the group was “too controversial.” She said that communication and endurance were key to ensuring the successful formation of the chapter this year, despite attempts to block it.
Here’s what Alisa, a rising junior at Lake Forest High School, said about the success:
“We sought out the support of school staff and faculty and more importantly worked diligently to ensure that the real mission and purpose of YAF was understood by all. At first, we met similar questions and concerns as those who had tried to form a chapter last year. However, through consistent endurance and simple communication, we were able to prevail in communicating the true values of YAF.
The official start of the LFHS YAF chapter is set to begin at the start of this school year. I am really excited and appreciate the support and enthusiasm we’ve received from several of the faculty and staff members who encouraged us with our efforts. With over 70 students attending our first meeting, I know this YAF chapter has the passion, energy, and support that will allow us to grow!”
With over 70 students attending the first YAF meeting in June, it is obvious that there is a desire to hear conservative viewpoints at Lake Forest High School.
“It took a while to get our YAF chapter up and running,” said co-founder Grace Gescheidle, “but we are so glad our school is recognizing our National Affiliation with YAF, and we are super excited for what is in store for our chapter and community.”
Julia Hender, another founding member of the chapter, said they wanted to start a chapter because of their desire to speak out. “We’re super excited to be apart of a group of like minded individuals!” Hender said. “I’m really looking forward to the many years of success to come for the new YAF chapter at LFHS.”