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Fla. school district considers eliminating clubs to avoid allowing gay-straight alliance

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TAVARES, Fla. — The Lake County School Board is considering eliminating all non-academic clubs from middle and high school campuses instead of allowing a student to form a gay-straight alliance.

School board members discussed the possible changes during a workshop on Monday after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter that supported 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein, who has applied to form the gay-straight alliance club at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, Fla.

According to the ACLU, Silberestein wanted to form the alliance as a way to combat bullying against LGBT students. Silberstein’s application — which detailed instances of children being shoved or called names because of their sexual orientation — was denied last year, but she re-applied to form the group this past October.

Board members said that they now want to limit extra-curricular student groups in secondary schools.

The new rules, if adopted, would affect all other non-academic clubs, including bowling and junior beta, which is a community service club. Yearbook and student council clubs could also be cut.

The ACLU, citing the federal Equal Access Act, said school districts cannot pick and choose which clubs to allow based on what they think students should or should not discuss.

If a school allows any student group to meet that doesn’t have a mission directly related to school academics, then it cannot deny other students groups the same access, the ACLU warned.

Lake County school officials said if they decide to get rid of all non-academic clubs, they can still exist, but would not be permitted to meet on campus, distribute flyers or announcements on school property, or be listed on the district’s website.

During the Monday session, School Board Chairperson Kyleen Fischer spoke in favor of banning the extra-curricular clubs in secondary schools, and said the district should focus on education, and that “social engineering” is not the job of the school board.

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35 more reader comments:

  1. :P

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:06pm
  2. So stupid

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:07pm
  3. typical

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:09pm
  4. Seriously- can’t we just neuter the United States and saw off its wang (Florida) already?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:09pm
  5. The South does not fail to disappoint me.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:10pm
  6. I’m ashamed of the state I live in.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:10pm
  7. and they wonder why some areas of florida have a reputation for being classless base and backassed.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:10pm
  8. Do you see the point that the HATERS will go to in trying to deny the LGBTQ community EQUAL rights!! They are completely INSANE in their intolerance, HATRED, and discrimination of ANYONE who is not EXACTLY like them!! ..and follows their version of “CHRISTian values”!?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:10pm
  9. Fantastic plan, asswipes. Taking all the clubs away CERTAINLY won’t make these poor gay kids an even bigger target, huh? Good grief. just when you think bigots cant get any more pathetic.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:11pm
  10. I’m dating Yasmin Gonzalez. He (transgender) started the first GSA lawsuit in the country in Okeechobee, Florida. We won because if one non academic club exists then you can’t discriminate. This state is ridiculous.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:11pm
  11. wow… wtf?…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:11pm
  12. I’m a Floridian and I’m embarrassed!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:12pm
  13. boooo

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:14pm
  14. that wont be good for the students. whether or not they would join the gsa

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:15pm
  15. Days like this I’m grateful I’m from the northeast! Florida…uh ever heard that kids who are involved in extra curricular activities academic and otherwise are less likely to get in trouble at school or with law enforcement?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:16pm
  16. Stupid floridians.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:17pm
  17. I went to high school in Orlando, Orange County. My school had a strong GSA and we also had the most participants in Day of Silence in all of central Florida. This is just sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:20pm
  18. And that’s what this is…Discrimination!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:20pm
  19. The school district only adding more hate to this world

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:21pm
  20. Jef not all of us are stupid, thanks.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:21pm
  21. They should really look into what happened when they tried that at Flour Bluff High School here in Texas. Nik Peet

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:23pm
  22. It’s an embarrassment to humanity. So sad this kinda shit’s become so prevalent. Thankfully, those kinda people and attitudes are circling the drain in droves.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:24pm
  23. Wrong century

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:34pm
  24. This is just plain stupid!!!!! Who the heck cares if there is that type of club? I think all schools in America need them!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:34pm
  25. :-(

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:34pm
  26. Wow, really? What a bunch of crap…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:44pm
  27. Because.. you know, taking things away from EVERYONE will promote tolerance…. uh, huh!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:46pm
  28. When are they going to learn… that, they CAN’T stop progress!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:47pm
  29. Others, more inclusive of all kinds will pop up and we will be a better society for it

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 10:20pm
  30. Haters would rather hurt everyone than help a few that are suffering due to other’s hatred. Sad. :-(

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 11:11pm
  31. … TYPICAL-for-FLA.!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 11:27pm
  32. Hanford , were not the first & unfortunately won’t be the last. But collectively we are moving forward by many little steps. Somedays, I wish it would fast-forward

    Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:27am
  33. Lake County is a fairly rural county filled with conservatives. Not surprising, but pretty depressing that they’d stoop so low.

    Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 5:36am
  34. That district isn’t being idiotic at all… *sarcasm*

    Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 7:12am
  35. Their Loss.

    Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:57am