Lake County School District considers ban on nonacademic clubs



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County Public Schools are considering only allowing academic clubs on middle and high school grounds.

All other clubs, including bowling and possibly student council, would be affected by the change.

School board members discussed the possible changes earlier this week during a workshop. The workshop came after the school district got a letter from the ACLU threatening to sue because the district refused to let 14-year-old Bayli Silberestein start a club called "The Gay and Straight Alliance," she said, to combat bullying against gay students.

“It was something I didn't want to continue to see happen,” said Silberestein.

Fearing the ACLU has a strong case, officials may get rid of other clubs, Channel 9’s Myrt Price learned.

Officials said if they decide to get rid of all nonacademic clubs, they can still exist, but there wouldn’t be any fliers or announcements on school property. Those clubs also wouldn’t be listed on the district website.

But school officials said the clubs would still be allowed to meet, just not on school property.

Some of the clubs that could be affected include bowling and junior beta, which is a community service club. Year book and student council clubs could also be cut.

Parents told Channel 9 they don't think getting rid of any clubs is a good idea.

“Everybody gets hurt if they don't allow an organization, because they’re afraid of it,” said parent Betsy Harrington.

The district is looking at two plans, one of which would make the changes in just middle schools. The other would make the changes in middle and high schools.