GLAA criticizes alcohol policy at Sumner School Museum
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GLAA criticizes alcohol policy at Sumner School Museum

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
PO Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013

May 23, 2001

Ms. Peggy Cooper Cafritz
DC Board of Education
825 North Capitol Street, N.E., 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20002-4232

Dear Ms. Cooper Cafritz:

I am writing to ask that the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives be granted an exemption from the general policy prohibiting the serving of alcohol on school system property.

As you may know, GLAA holds our regular meetings at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives. It is a beautiful building with great historical significance.

For many years, GLAA also held our anniversary reception at Sumner, in the Great Hall.

Two years ago we were informed that the champagne toast at our reception would no longer be allowed, as a blanket no-alcohol policy had been adopted for all school buildings.

We were disappointed by this policy regarding Sumner. Sumner does not operate as a school, but rather as a museum, archive and show place for the District. The promotional literature for Sumner states "It now serves as a hospitality center for the District of Columbia Public Schools and as a museum and archive."

Sumner is for all DC residents and visitors, not just for children. The evening programs and events are almost entirely aimed at adults. Obviously not all of the receptions or functions would offer alcohol, just as not many of the events provide catering.

The Sumner's venue does not lend itself to wild parties or problems related to alcohol, and to the best of our knowledge there weren't any problems prior to the prohibition. GLAA has no problem with reasonable restrictions on alcohol, just as we have no problem with the reasonable restrictions on food at Sumner. Currently no dark liquids or greasy foods may be served. Similarly a restriction on red wines or other dark alcoholic beverages is equally reasonable to protect the décor.

I hope that you agree with us that the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archive is a unique building within the school system and should not be subject to the same ban on alcohol as other facilities.

Thank you.


Bob Summersgill

Cc: Members of the DC Board of Education
Paul L. Vance, Superintendent

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