Florida school district would rather ban ALL student clubs than allow one kid to form a Gay-Straight Alliance
The ACLU, citing the federal Equal Access Act, says school districts cannot pick and choose which clubs to allow based on what they think students should or should not discuss. If a school allows any student group to meet that doesn't have a mission directly related to school academics, then it cannot deny other students groups the same access, the ACLU says. In Florida, the law applies to middle and high school students.
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.
Howard said he was worried about the clubs that would be lost under stricter rules. "I am very concerned that one club would push out the remainder of the clubs that are doing good things," he said.