Florida’s Lake County School Board to Vote on Whether or Not to Allow Gay-Straight Alliances

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The Lake County School Board is taking a vote on the district’s policy on school clubs, an issue that has stemmed from a student’s request to start a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School.

On March 11, the Board will have a first reading of three proposed policies for school clubs. One policy would allow non-curricular clubs at the districts’ high schools while closing them to middle schools, a second option would allow non-curricular clubs at both high schools and middle schools, and a third policy would close non-curricular clubs to both high schools and middle schools.

The proposed changes were sparked by 8th grader Bayli Silberstien’s attempt to start a GSA at Carver Middle School.

On Jan. 23, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Lake County School Board attorney Stephen Johnson, demanding the district follow through on Silberstein’s  request for a GSA to “confront bullying, educate the school community, and promote acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students” via the formation of a GSA.

According to Silberstien, school officials had been ignoring her request. After the ACLU sent the letter, the School Board proposed a plan to ban all non-curricular student clubs, rather than allow the GSA.

According to district spokesman Chris Patton, as of the latest workshop discussion, the option preferred by most of the board appears to be allowing non-curricular clubs at the districts’ high schools while closing them to middle schools.

He said the board will make a decision March 11, but that decision will not be final.

“There will have to be a second reading where they finalize it and vote again,” Patton said.

Equality Florida has issued an action alert for the meeting, requesting supporters show up wearing red and speak in favor of the GSA. The meeting begins 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the Lake County Administrative Building, 315 W Main St. in Tavares.

From our media partners at Watermark


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