Florida School Wants to Stop GSA Club

A Florida school district is trying to get around the Equal Access Act and prevent the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club. The only way they can do that is by prohibiting all extra-curricular and non-curricular student clubs from forming.

The Lake County School Board could create new rules that would keep a local Gay-Straight Alliance student group from forming at a middle school.

The School Board discussed the rules for student clubs at a workshop Monday — with most members saying they want to limit extra-curricular student groups in secondary schools.

The discussion comes after the American Civil Liberties Union supported 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein, who wanted to form a Gay-Straight Alliance student club at Carver Middle School in Leesburg. Bayli was denied last school year but re-applied to form the group in October…

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.

But that means cutting out a lot of clubs that board members and the community would undoubtedly support and that are very helpful for students. The lengths that people will go to in order to punish gay people.

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  • ArtK

    The phrase “cutting off their noses to spite their faces” comes to mind here.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    Of course, this can easily be spun as “The Gay Agenda is making us end extracurricular activities so we can protect and save them from queer-mo-sexual perversion!”

  • Glenn E Ross

    I’m no lawyer, but couldn’t a case be made that the school dropped all clubs to stop the GSA club? If it could be proven that that intent of the school board members in denying all clubs was to prevent the formation of a GSA club, wouldn’t that be de facto discrimination?

  • The phrase “cutting off their noses to spite their faces” comes to mind here.

    Not to mention ‘We had to destroy it in order to save it.’

  • whheydt

    Re; Glen E. Ross @ #3…

    IANAL, but I’d guess that that approach would require that gays be designated as a protected class. Good luck with *that* in Florida.

  • 01jack

    They’re talking of banning all non-curricular clubs. So that would mean that the students could still have, say, a Geography Club?

  • jimmy60

    I see kids trying to make a better world and adults stopping them. In a way it gives me hope. The more they resist, the harder the kids will work. Teenagers aren’t big on being told, no.

  • Scr… Archivist

    Would the ban include athletic entertainment groups?

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    For a moment I thought the school board was trying to ban a club for the Geological Society of America. I was really horrified!

    Seriously, though, it’s sad that the bigots can’t even tolerate a club for greater understanding between gays and straights. Whatever happened to teach the controversy?

  • Angus Merrill

    @Gvlgeologist @ #9

    I live in Leesburg, if one can call it living. Please don’t give these god-soaked, bigoted assholes any ideas.

  • dickspringer

    Aren’t they banning Good News Clubs as well?

  • Christoph Burschka

    So where did they put the loophole for the religious clubs? I suspect there pretty much has to be one, or this would never have been approved.

  • gopiballava

    Christoph: Most churches already have buildings. Perhaps they figure they don’t need the school? There probably aren’t as many GLBT community centers in that area.

  • kantalope

    This is the route taken in Utah. Ban on all clubs – then special laws intended to outlaw gay clubs.

    Not sure how the lawsuits all turned out…

  • I hate to be rude, but I think you are all missing the implication of this. Every kid, every parent of those kids, and any bigot, kid or parent, that wants to, will now blame Bayli Silberstein and the ACLU for spoiling High School for everyone else. For their bravery, Bayli and her parents will nor be subject to harassment, death threats, violence and even arson. They need more than us simply looking at our computer screen and saying “you go kid.” They’re going to need major support even up to the costs of hiring body guards.

  • @15:

    Your observation is noted. It’s been made by many commentors on this blog, going back at least several years. Ed Brayton and others are staunch supporters of those who attempt to make change happen.

    It’s an unfortunate truth that non-violent attempts by groups whose rights are being withheld are met with violence by the persecuted majority–usually self-id’d christians–in the areas of racial equality and gay rights.

  • Childermass

    They will outlaw extracurricular activities to so they can satisfy their bigotry. Of course that will not stop students from meeting elsewhere. Thus main difference now will be that extracurricular activities will more inconvenient, activities might be in a less safe environment, and without the supervision of responsible adults. But then again, it might be the case that this school district has no responsible adults.