A few months ago, a Leesburg middle-schooler began to lobby for a Gay Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School. Now, school board members are looking to shut that effort down.
The Lake County School Board is in the process of rewriting its policy on non-curricular school activities -- those activities that aren't in any way connected to a class.
But school board member Tod Howard, who is pushing for the rewrite, said the reason behind the change is not solely based on those efforts to bring a Gay Straight Alliance to Carver Middle School, although the timing does raise that question.
"I'm looking to make the best decision for the students as a whole, not just that one student, or that one group of people," he said.
Howard has been on the school board now for three years and says the policy on non-curricular clubs was written well before his tenure. Now that this push for a Gay Straight Alliance has begun, it's ample opportunity to review a policy that he thinks is not in the best interest of Lake County's youngest students.
Howard says, "When we start talking middle schoolers, they need to focus on academics. I'm not sure middle school is the place for those outlets."
Non-curricular clubs include anything that is not directly related to a class. Current non-curriculars include: bowling, cup stacking, photography, and maybe even year book.
The bottom line for Howard and other school board members is that, non-curricular clubs, such as a Gay Straight Alliance, only belong in high school, where social skills and critical thinking should be part of the overall curriculum.
"I think that's appropriate," Howard says.
School board member Bill Mathias says, "If the club was about bullying in its foundation, then we need to stop bulling. We don't need a club for that."