Student awaits vote deciding fate of gay-straight alliance - FOX 35 News Orlando

Middle-schooler awaits vote deciding fate of gay-straight alliance

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After more than a year of fighting to get a gay-straight alliance club started at her middle school, Bayli Silberstein, 14, eagerly awaits a Monday school board vote.

Lake County Schools is scheduled to make its final vote on whether to allow clubs not based on curriculum to exist in middle schools. It recently passed the first vote 3-2.

But now, a school board member says he's going to ask for the vote to be postponed.

"I think its coincidental that it happens right when they're about to finalize the vote for the GSA."

The two Lake School Board members who voted against non-curriculum-based clubs in middle schools aren't giving up.

Board member Bill Mathias is now asking state lawmakers to change the definition of secondary school.

"I encouraged the legislature to change the identification of 6-12 as being secondary," Mathias said. "My advocacy was that 9-12 be considered secondary."

"The federal equal access act specifically deals with secondary education."

The federal government requires equal access for all clubs in secondary schools. But if Florida no longer considered grades 6 through 8 as secondary schools, it would be left to a principal or superintendent to decide which clubs are allowed.

Mathias says he'll request to delay the school board vote until state lawmakers vote on the secondary school language. He says it has nothing to do with Silberstein's gay-straight alliance request.

"I'm concerned about an open policy in middle school distracting from what's what the core business is. Every month we'd be dealing with what new club is coming," Mathias said.

Bayli is hoping the school board won't postpone Monday's vote.

"It scares me, because I'll be in high school next year, and I don't know if they'll be someone else to fight for it," she said.

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