Florida's Lake County School Board might ban all extracurricular clubs as a way to avoid having to approve the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance. Yes, students may have to say bye-bye to their FCA, 4H, and Drama Club membership cards all because some school board members are stuck in the past.
Last year, 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein tried to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School in Leesburg.Silberstein told WFTV
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that she was sick of her group of friends being bullied for their sexual orientation, and wanted to form the group to address the problem. But her request had been denied each and every time. So, Bayli's mother contacted the ACLU, and the group sent a letter to the school board reminding them that they've won several expensive lawsuits in the past against schools that refused to let similar groups form.
School Board members Bill Mathias, Debbie Stivender and Chairwoman Kyleen Fischer spoke in favor of a rule that would ban extra-curricular clubs in secondary schools while fellow board members Tod Howard and Rosanne Brandeburg favored banning extra-curricular clubs only in middle schools.
Fischer said the district should focus on education and that "social engineering" is not the job of the School Board. "It is not our job to socially mentor students, but to educate them," she said.
Basically, in order to comply with the federal Equal Access Act, the board is considering just cutting off everyone's access to forming groups.