Judge rules in case of gay-straight alliance in Lake County school


Bayli Silberstein

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A U.S. District judge has issued a final order in the case of the Leesburg student, who sued the Lake County School Board for her right to establish a gay-straight alliance at Carver Middle School.

When the school initially denied the club, the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in and pressured the board to either allow it or ban all extracurricular clubs. The ACLU represented 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein in the lawsuit.

The final order by U.S. District Judge Anne Conway reinforces a consent decree established the day after the lawsuit’s filing that allowed the club to meet. It also awarded Silberstein $1 in nominal damages.

“I am really happy that we were finally able to meet and that this is finally over,” said Silberstein, an 8th grader. “I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve gotten and hope this helps other kids see that what we’re doing is something worth fighting for.”

Since the lawsuit, the Carver Middle School Gay Straight Alliance has been able to meet regularly throughout the final weeks of the school year.

“We are very happy for Bayli and her family that this lawsuit has come to a close,” said Daniel Tilley, staff attorney for the ACLU of Florida. “We look forward to ensuring that the Carver Middle School GSA will remain an official student club during the next school year and the years after that.”