Lake County School Board tables discussion on Gay-Straight Alliance club

By Amaka Ubaka, Reporter, aubaka@wkmg.com
Published On: Apr 22 2013 04:43:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 22 2013 10:30:44 PM EDT

The Lake County School Board has tabled the discussion on a Gay-Straight Alliance club to be allowed at district schools after Gov. Rick Scott signs a sweeping education bill.

LEESBURG, Fla. -

The Lake County School Board has tabled the discussion on Monday about a Gay-Straight Alliance club to be allowed at district schools the same day Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping education bill.

The meeting, which lasted about an hour, resulted in a 4 to 1 vote to postpone the decision because of Senate bill 1076, which was signed into law Monday and no longer defines secondary schools in the state as both middle and high schools. The school board is waiting for the state to make a decision to redefine secondary schools.

“I'm extremely disappointed that they would fight that hard to stop a club for the students, it's all to help the students,” said Carver Middle School student Bayli Silberstein, who has been pushing the club for months after she felt gay students were being bullied.

Bayli gathered more than 50,000 signatures of support and has the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, which threatened a lawsuit.

Gerald Bustin, a pastor, says he's glad the school board didn't vote and believes gay-straight alliance clubs would have too much influence.

“Their goal is to infiltrate our schools to teach children the gay agenda to elevate it and give it more visibility in the schools,” says Bustin.

But Bayli says she'll keep fighting no matter what.

“It's definitely not over I'll keep doing all that I can," she said

The ACLU tells Local 6, the Equal Access Act, a Federal law and the First Amendment protect the right for Bayli to form gay-straight alliance clubs.

The board voted to tentatively approve the clubs in middle and high schools, with parental consent last month. At that meeting, the board discussed possibly limiting middle school student clubs to those only involving academics, which would affect service and religious-based clubs.

The board then voted 3 to 2 in support of the option to allow all non-academic clubs in middle schools and high schools in Lake County.

Now the process starts all over again, the school board will eventually have another public hearing with new options on the table, but most likely will not vote on the issue again until the summer.

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