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ACLU sues Lake County, Fla., school board over gay-straight alliance club


OCALA, Fla. -- The American Civil Liberties Union sued a Florida school board Wednesday, claiming its delay in allowing the formation of a gay-straight alliance club at a middle school is a violation of free speech and equal access.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the School Board of Lake County in federal court in Ocala.

Efforts by eighth-grader Bayli Silbertstein to form a student club for gay students and their straight allies at Carver Middle School have been repeatedly delayed by the school board. The board's failure to give her a definitive answer on whether the club can be formed is tantamount to a denial and that denial violates the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said.

"This non-response amounts to a de facto denial," the lawsuit said.

Also named in the lawsuit were the Lake County school superintendent and the principal of the middle school.

When Silberstein applied to start the Gay-Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School last November, the school's principal told her she needed to consult the school board. Last February, the school board held a public workshop on whether clubs without a direct tie to the curriculum could be held at middle and high schools, and in March the board gave tentative approval to the measure, a decision which would have given the green light to the gay-straight club, the lawsuit said.

A vote to give final approval to the measure was tabled at a school board meeting last week.

A spokesman for Lake County Schools said he couldn't comment on a pending lawsuit. But Chris Patton said the school board wanted to review the policy again after a change was made to state law defining which schools are subject to a federal law prohibiting discrimination of clubs based on what they may discuss. Another workshop is planned for Monday.

"This has been an ongoing process," Patton said.


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Thanks for posting this!
Some closely related stories are here:
--Lake County School Board Member Questions 14-Year-Old Student’s Sexual Orientation (http://www.youthallies.com/school-board-member-questions-14-year-old-students-sexual-orientation/)
--After School Board Blocks GSA, Board Member Tells LGBT Youth Allies, “The Board Has Not Blocked the GSA.” (http://www.youthallies.com/lake-county-school-board-blocks-gay-straight-alliance-board-member-denies-blocking-gsa/)

The background story that led to these stories is here:

Sharing everywhere asking people to help...at least reminding them..
'If nothing else YOU should all join ACLU wherever you live to help them fight for YOUR Civil Rights'!

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