Category Archives: School Extracurricular Activities & Events & Publications like Gay-Straight Alliances & Proms & Yearbooks

Lake County on Map in Blue

A federal appellate court delivered a big win to Florida students in a long-running legal dispute over a middle school gay-straight alliance.

The court’s unanimous decision, authored by a famously conservative judge, holds that a federal law known as the Equal Access Act applies to (and therefore protects the rights of) students attending Carver Middle School in Lake County. The student plaintiffs had relied on the Act’s non-discrimination protections in a lawsuit over the Lake County School Board’s refusal to allow the middle-school GSA. The school board responded to the suit by arguing, among other things, that the Equal Access Act only applies to high schools and therefore provides no protection to the district’s middle school students; today’s decision rejects that position.
Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

Florida drawn in chalk on green school chalkboard
Bill Mathias Official Photo

School Board Member Bill Mathias finds it “odd” that I write about Lake County, since he is “sure there is injustice in [my] part of the world.

The long-running dispute over the right of students to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School in Lake County, Florida, is headed to trial in federal court this week before a Nixon-appointed judge, the Honorable William Terrell Hodges. For some background on the saga, check out the short local news video and the list of earlier Youth Allies posts (below).

It’s certainly frustrating that the school board, after all this time, is still fighting this club. (Some readers may recall that one Lake County School Board member told me in a ridiculous email almost two years ago that the board had “not blocked the GSA.” That statement, evidently, was false. Around the same time, another school board member inappropriately questioned a middle school student’s sexual orientation in an email to blogger Katy Bourne.)

Nevertheless, I am inspired by the tenacity and courage of the students, their families, their attorneys, and their many other allies. I wish them much luck (though they shouldn’t need it) as they continue their work to overcome the misunderstandings, misinformation, unfounded fears, hostility, and bias that have run rampant in Lake County over this issue. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

Arkansas on Green School Chalkboard

I was disappointed to read that gay Arkansas student Taylor Ellis has faced increased homophobia after speaking out against his school’s anti-gay censorship. Administrators at Sheridan High School, south of Little Rock, are refusing to include an interview with Ellis in this year’s yearbook, because the interview discusses Taylor’s coming out as gay. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post—and to learn how to help.