Judge Lets Lake County Student Start GSA, At Least Until End of Year

On May 30, U.S. District Judge Anne Conway issued a final order in Silberstein’s case against the School Board of Lake County for stonewalling the 14-year-old’s efforts to establish a GSA at Carver Middle School. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit May 1 and the next day, both parties entered into a consent decree allowing Silberstein to form the club for the remainder of the school year. That decree says the club will be officially recognized and can meet on the same terms as any other club.

However, after the settlement, the Board held some meetings to discuss school club policy that made it unclear whether they planned to stick to the deal. The judge’s order means the GSA will meet, but the settlement agreement expires on June 7, 2013, Silberstein’s last day of school.

When asked whether he thinks the school board will return to thwarting the GSA once the judge’s order runs out, ACLU spokesperson Baylor Johnson said “We certainly hope not.”

He said the order only applies to June 7 because the order is tied to Silberstein’s lawsuit and after that, she moves on to another school.

“We are hopeful that the school board has learned from this experience not to violate the rights of students and that we won’t have to go through a similar situation next year when the Carver Middle School GSA wants to meet again,” Johnson said. “It’s a wait and see from our standpoint. We’re prepared to help students, to make sure school administrators and the school board are respecting their rights.”

Silberstein said she’s happy the fight is over.

“My friends and I didn’t want to have the school year end without being able to do something to make school safer,” she said in a media release. “I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve gotten and hope this helps other kids see that what we’re doing is something worth fighting for.”

Silberstein had been attempting to establish a GSA since November of 2012, but school administrators had been ignoring her request until the ACLU—and the media—got involved in January of this year.

From our media partner Watermark

Jamie Hyman

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