Florida Bill Law Could Impact Lake County Gay-Straight Alliance Inclusion

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A small change in state law might throw a wrench in the plans to move forward with a Gay Straight Alliance Club (GSA) at Carver Middle School.

The Lake County School Board is schedule to take a final vote on the GSA at their meeting April 22. On March 11, they voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the GSA. The issue had stirred up some controversy after school officials ignored 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein’s request to create the club, the ACLU got involved, and then some board members proposed eliminating all clubs at the middle school level rather than allowing the GSA to move forward.

The March 11 vote was actually a vote in favor of allowing non-curricular clubs at the middle school level, an age group that fell under the definition of “secondary” schools.

However, Florida Senate Bill 1076 removes the definition of “secondary schools” as 6th through 12th grade and does not provide a new definition. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the two school board members who voted against allowing the GSA, Tod Howard and Bill Mathias, pressed for that change to the law. Howard posted to his Facebook page that the change could “potentially end the club policy controversy.”

Florida Senate Bill 1076 is a broad education bill expected to become law.

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