Florida School District Might Cut All School Clubs Rather Than Approve Gay-Straight Alliance

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 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. 

So how did the Lake County School Board react? They're thinking about just banning all clubs. From the Orlando Sentinel:
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.
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83 comments
Saturn
Saturn

Cutting off all extracurricular activities because of intolerance actually counts as harassment to a minority group. I'm going to contact the ACLU and push them to sue over this.

CindyBP
CindyBP

There are many pointing in response to this story who are screaming tolerance tolerance tolerance, yet are intolerant to anyone with an opposing view. I do understand that the intolerant left will not understand but the tolerant on the right will understand.

Jonathan0935
Jonathan0935

I'm a bit late commenting, but I just wanted to point out the tenets of the federal Equal Access Act for those who are unaware. Basically the act was passed by Congress at the urging of Christian groups so that Christian school clubs could form on school campuses. Previously, those clubs could not get approval bc school admins were afraid of being sued for First Amendment violations. Therefore, the act was passed and it stipulates that no matter the material or content of the club (so long as it wasn't illegal) as long as the school had created a "limited public forum" by allowing other clubs to form and receive federal money, they had to approve all others. Thus the school system can open itself up to nasty lawsuits if the club organizers have reasonable suspicion that they are being denied approval based the unpopular positions of the club (in this case gay oriented, but also political, social, and other). *Hopefully this was informative...if not, there's always google*

CindyBP
CindyBP

Good for them.

Taxpayers are paying for education not social clubs.

jwfernelius
jwfernelius

So the school board's official policy is, "Boo hoo, I'm taking my ball and going home"? Are these adults or petulant children operating in Lake County?

asdddeew
asdddeew

Ok, so long as they also cut out all sports as that is after school as well.

markcstout
markcstout

If the school board doesn't have the courage to run a school district maybe they should try something they are better at; maybe flower arranging or geology. Let some adults run the district.

adam570
adam570

Just so we're clear here....the girl used the ACLU to bully a school into accepting her club to help curb bullying. Got it.

Saturn
Saturn

@CindyBP There are no tolerant on the right. If you have a problem with someone's sexual orientation then there's this great thing you can do: NOT HAVE SEX WITH THEM. Do not push your archaic so-called "morality" on other people. If you're heterosexual, that's great. Have sex with people a different gender from you, so long as both parties consent to it. The orientation of someone else has nothing to do with you. Be gone with your hatred.

markcstout
markcstout

@robertms15 No. The distinction is that a Gay-Straight Alliance is a positive interaction grounded in the cooperation between Americans that got us our independence from England , freedom for former slaves, through two world wars and the depression. Accepting your LGBT neighbors as equals is required by the command and example of Christ (if you are a Christian) and promised by the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Adultery is specifically called out in the Ten commandments as "Thou Shall Not" territory, and by divorce law, pretty much worldwide. Nazi's have some problems in being accepting of diversity, and are kind of dishonest in their view of history. Stalinists were stupid when they existed; they are extinct. To explain simply, RobertMS15, GSA=Good, Adultery, Nazi's and Stalinists=Bad. Please absorb this, and get the assistance of an adult, before posting again.

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP If taxpayers are paying for an education than a GSA is one way of protecting their investment. A GSA helps lighten the burden felt by LGBT students that would otherwise feel pressured into pretending that they are something (a 1950's "Father Knows Best" gender role) that is not actually part of their nature. Sexuality is determined at birth, and lives have been destroyed, either by people living their whole lives forcing themselves to conform, or by being bullied to death by wicked people that cannot accept the reality that God has put before them. Once the lies are gone, once the discrimination is gone, once the bullying is gone, there won't be a need for a GSA. Since the B.S., discrimination and bullying persist, you need a GSA or the students' studies are compromised.

wyrm3.0
wyrm3.0

@CindyBP Social Awareness is part of a well rounded education.

gerardgustav
gerardgustav

@CindyBP 

And having a group to help deal with harassment that most of these kids probably get on a daily basis AND impedes on their ability to learn has no place in a school?

CindyBP
CindyBP

@markcstout They are running the school district, the focus is education not social clubs.

jwfernelius
jwfernelius

@adam570  

You remind me of someone who blames the victim for fighting back. You can go right on kicking sand in someone's face, but don't start crying when they stand up and punch you in the nose.

asdddeew
asdddeew

@adam570 No, she used the ACLU to STOP A BULLY, the bully being the school.

CindyBP
CindyBP

@Saturnrn  Thank you for absolutely validating my point.


CindyBP
CindyBP

@Mmmmmmmmmnnn @robertms15 Oh, honey would you be willing to have a KKK club or aa White Pride Club or a Black Panthers club or ....are you only interested in the Homosexual Justification Club.

CindyBP
CindyBP

@wyrm3.0 @CindyBP Yea, you know what social awareness does nothing for the job market it does however teach kids to be cry babies and its ok to not have a spin.

CindyBP
CindyBP

@gerardgustav  

Yea, you know what kids get made fun of, teach them to stand up for themselves and stop being cry babies.

adam570
adam570

@jwfernelius @adam570 Explain to me how she is the victim here. She asked the school for something. They said no. She pressured the hell out of them. They said no. That wasn't good enough, so she has to get the ACLU involved to threaten a lawsuit. Explain to me again how the school is not being bullied? 

Personally, I happen to agree with her, but at least I'm the only one that's looking at this situation objectively.

Let me ask you a question. Would you support someone wanting to open up a White People's Alliance at your children's school? Or better yet, would  you support a Skinhead Club at your children's school? And if the school denied their access would you support them in suing the school to get it? 

Saturn
Saturn

@CindyBPDear homophobic detriment to society, why are you so bothered by the existence of a GSA club? What possible harm is it causing you?

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP @Mmmmmmmmmnnn @robertms15 Cindy, the KKK works against the interests of the students by teaching that some students have more value than others because of factors (skin color, race) outside of the students' control. Likewise the White Pride club. There should already be a Black Panthers club to encourage any students considering the B.S. being preached by the Teabaggers to do some research before accepting their words as truth. There is no need for a "Homosexual Justification" club: sexuality comes from God, is determined before birth, and people that don't like it can take their arguments to God because this cannot be changed on Earth.

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP @wyrm3.0 Were the other clubs required to prove that they helped the job market? Social awareness does a LOT for the job market; employers can run their businesses more efficiently if they hire the best qualified person and disregard race, creed, gender and sexuality. Likewise, you should accept the position that matches your pay needs and qualifications best, without regard to the race, creed and sexuality of your employer and co-workers. A bigot will settle for a lesser situation to satisfy their childish fears. GSA's are not a place for cry-babies. On the contrary, a GSA is where kids go to strengthen their armor. You walk in stressed out, feeling threatened by some big jerk, somebody hugs you, asks whats wrong, and then points out that  the bully is actually in the closet and is trying to hide the fact that he really thinks you are cute. You laugh, nod in agreement, wipe your tears and then go knock out 7th Period Calculus like it was nothing. I don't know what you mean by "spin"; it had some meaning 20 years ago, but it has evolved to mean "Fox News Lies"; that doesn't fit your usage.

thaylin
thaylin

@CindyBP @wyrm3.0 Social awareness is what has founded multiple billion dollar companies and ideas. Do you watch fox, and their Germany gets more sun than the US type of news?

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP @thaylin @gerardgustav GSA's do not have a leftist agenda. Focusing taxpayer-funded education on a problem that wastes education dollars is pretty conservative. Pushing Christ's message of loving your brother, your neighbor and your enemies as yourself is conservative, too. Teaching all of the kids in a given school to accept each other as equals carries over into our armed forces after graduation; you judge the guys on either side of you in combat by their ability to cover you rather than who they woke up with this morning. How the hell is making the United States stronger somehow... What exactly is a "leftest"? It's not in my dictionary.

thaylin
thaylin

@CindyBP First it was not a homosexual justification club it was an anti bullying club, your ignorance is showing. 

Also K-12 is not there to teach you job skills, that is the job of Unis and Colleges, K-12 is there to teach you 2 things, how to learn basic material  and the basics you will need to know in life. In those regards clubs and sex ed are perfectly fine.

CindyBP
CindyBP

@Mmmmmmmmmnnn @CindyBP @markcstout Oh sweeties, you have no idea what I beleive or do not beleive. 

If you want a homosexual justification club fund it yourself.

However, to make it simple. I do not think school districts should fund any clubs. There are hundreds of people willing to sponsor them, let them do it. If these clubs are so important let the teachers sponsor them for free.

School districts should be teaching reading writing and arithmetic. Really, how to put a condom on a cucumber is not important on the world employment frame.

We spend so much money on social engineering that we are cheeting the kids on academic.

We need to teach our kids to have spins, and not that they can wet their pants because someone calls them a name.

Our kids need to grow the hell up! (oh and you do as well)


markcstout
markcstout

@adam570 @thaylin @EliChisholm The girl could've chickened out, formed an "Oragami Club" and invited only LGBT friends to join. She decided to be brave and call her club what it really is, to fight the board and make their homophobia public, and make clear that this group is not going to hide like it had something to be ashamed of. She's rejecting the 1950's-style guilt that used to be associated with homosexuality and putting the shame on the bigots. You've got a proud fighter here, or you would have an underground club. The fake "christian" (not actually of Christ) guild trip will not work on her; she knows that the haters do not actually have God on their side.

thaylin
thaylin

@adam570 @thaylin @EliChisholm Actually what you described is yourself not me.. You are looking at the surface and implying that there has to be something more, where as I did some research, as in read attached links:

of the principle "I saw that she was listening. She said her biggest thing was that she thought we were going to be singling ourselves out even more," said Silberstein.


they were just ignoring the girl because they did not want the club.


In addition none of the things you stated makes sense. First it would cost no more to have an additional club, other than maybe a new teacher, but even a new teacher is not required, you dont have to have 1 teacher per club, a teacher can monitor multiple clubs.. They could have given her restrictions on take and days.


So NO your possible conclusions do not make more sense then mine.

Lastly they never sued the school, not yet... 


So my friend before you start using phil 101 terms you apparently dont know how to use make sure that

adam570
adam570

@thaylin @adam570 @EliChisholm That's impossible to make that conclusion and you're using a strawman argument. For all you know, they were denied because of budgeting reasons. This same scenario could have happened with the Origami club wanting to meet on school grounds. You don't know, so trying to deduce something strictly by looking at the surface issue is ignorant. It would just as easily be said that the school couldn't get any teacher or staff member to monitor the group or they didn't have it in their budget to pay one, which they would have to do. So now this chick is suing the school...a lawsuit they probably can't afford, so it would be easier to just shut all the clubs down instead for budgetary reasons. That actually makes a LOT more sense than anything you've said.


thaylin
thaylin

@adam570 @EliChisholm Actually we do, because instead of coming up with a logical reason to deny the GSA they decided to shut all of the clubs down. That shows fairly empirically that it was the sexual orientation of the potential members or the message, either one is wrong. I am not sure which is sadder, that you are unable to use common reasoning skills, or the potential decision of the school board.

adam570
adam570

@EliChisholm You don't know what grounds this group was denied for. Neither do I. So until we know the facts, you're just speculating and making assumptions based on a one-sided story. There could be a million different reasons as to why. My bet is that they don't want a politically charged topic as a club, just the same way they probably don't want a Christian club at school either. The truth is, you really haven't got a clue why they were denied or the reasoning behind it, so any argument you make accordingly is moot.


EliChisholm
EliChisholm

@adam570 I guess jwfernelius' desire to not deal with folks like you is outweighed by your hatred of gays.

What grounds did the school board have for not allowing a group that promoted tolerance and awareness for a socially pressured group?  Go back 50 or 60 years, and change the name of the group from the Gay-Straight Alliance to the White-Black Alliance and you would have been met with the same reaction.

Now, you're going to complain that I'm being unfair because I'm using a politically charged and culturally sensitive example to emphasize a point.  Too damn bad, because it's NOT unfair.  What's unfair and unjust is your comparison of a group that wants to promote equality, tolerance and understanding, and Skinheads.

Every group of human beings not spouting vile hatred deserves a chance to find a place to congregate peacefully.  Unless you're willing to go ahead and come out and say that you just don't think gays are human...


CindyBP
CindyBP

@markcstoutMarkie, I have read your replies with amusement.  To somehow prove you are tolerant you are intolerant to all points of view that do not meet your world view. I will continue to mock your ignorance.

So, tatat and have a wonderful life of name calling and bulling under the guise of tolerance.

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP @thaylin @asdddeew @adam570 No. You don't get that. Bullying is in place and kids aren't going to graduate school. You bring in a GSA to enable learning, or you throw your education money into a gaping hole. You throw away the lives of the kids that could've been great adults because you didn't treat a third of the students as equals. You empower the bullies; they graduate with poor grades and cannot take a job because every job in town is run by some minority he hates; Jews, Mormons, Catholics, blacks, Indians, so he stays in his parents basement. Shame on you; taxpayers expect to get adults after spending money on education, and you've given them teabaggers instead!

thaylin
thaylin

@CindyBP @thaylin @asdddeew @adam570 So you are now contradicting yourself, unless you dont consider how to get along with others, and working together skills that are for the betterment of society.

CindyBP
CindyBP

@thaylin @CindyBP @asdddeew @adam570 How funny you are thaylin.....seriously. I do not want ANY clubs funded by taxpayers. I DO want kids to graduate with skills for the betterment of society, without them wetting their pants because someone called them a name.

thaylin
thaylin

@CindyBP @asdddeew @adam570 Little girl, I want to create a club and get my friends in  as well, school board no, because we dont like your friends.. That is classic bullying. Someone in a position of power arbitrarily decides they dont like you, and therefore you dont have equal rights with the rest of the school body. 

markcstout
markcstout

@adam570 @Mmmmmmmmmnnn @CindyBP @Anon Getting the ACLU attorneys is what you do to wicked people that think they are in such a position of authority that they don't have to follow the law or answer to anybody for their actions and inaction. We've seen this before in Exodus, when the Pharaoh didn't think he had to answer to anybody.

markcstout
markcstout

@CindyBP @Anon Students get bullied in school. The bullies have already found themselves a place in the school; the hallways, the classrooms, the cafeteria, the locker room. The infestation of bullies is in place. The GSA has got to be in the school; there's no other way. If your house has termites, are you going to have the exterminator do his job at a coffee shop on the other side of town? The GSA, like a fire extinguisher, has to be in the right place to be of use.

markcstout
markcstout

@adam570 @asdddeew The school board used their position to block the creation of a club that benefits students. It's a GSA; they help students that have been bullied because of their sexuality or gender identification, and if a straight student feels threatened because of their creed, headscarf, skin color, accent, whatever; the GSA is there for them too. A student that is terrified about what is going to be done to them next, that has had their complaints disregarded by administrators, is not focused on their studies. The school board in question isn't concerned about kids being able to learn in a safe environment; they are so terrified about their own masculinity that they think that somehow if they allow a GSA to form they will look like Richard Simmons and that  if they block a GSA from forming they will look like John Wayne. The school board meets the classic profile of a bully; they are not at peace with their own sexuality, and to those that have seen this play over and over again, they have practically screamed that they will be dramatically and embarrassingly "outed" in a very short amount of time.

thaylin
thaylin

@CindyBP @Anon That is just idiotic. The girl did not punish anyone, they chose to do it themselves so they could keep these people from equally sharing the resources. All the other long standing clubs can meet anywhere as well, why do they have the privilege of doing it on campus, but this other club does not?

CindyBP
CindyBP

@Anon And shame on you for supporting a group (that could meet anyway where) but choses to push the school board to make a decision which will prevent long standing clubs from meeting at the school.

They of course will find a place to meet.

Anon
Anon

@adam570 The only reason the school denied this girl her club is because they don't agree with her and her friends sexual orientation, they are exhibiting intolerance and bigotry. 

And your purposely being disingenuous if you think it's about anything else. This is a very select few people who are using their power to preach intolerance and bigotry towards a select group of people they personally don't agree with.

Shame on you Adam for taking their side and calling the child who just wants to try and make her life and the lives of her friends better  the bully.

It's people like you and the school board that keep this world from progressing.

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