Lake County board votes to allow LGBT club at middle, high schools

School Board OKs allowing all clubs in middle, high schools with parental consent

LEESBURG, Fla. - School officials in Lake County voted to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance Club, among many other clubs, in their middle and high schools, with parental consent.

The school board met Monday to have a preliminary discussion to possibly limit middle school student clubs to those only involving academics, which would affect service and religious-based clubs.

The board voted 3 to 2 in support of the option to allow all non-academic clubs in middle schools and high schools in Lake County, with parental consent. The school board will still finalize the vote in 28 days, which is when it will become official. It's not clear when it would take effect.

This discussion comes after students at Carver Middle School in Leesburg tried to set up a club after they felt gay students were being bullied.

Student Bayli Silberstein, 14, tells Local 6 she gathered more than 50,000 signatures of support. She said the club would make school safer for kids that, like her, are bullied for their sexual orientation.

"I've been called a hero, and that's something I couldn't imagine. I'm not really a hero, just an 8th-grade girl in Leesburg," said Silberstein. "I hope it'll protect the students in middle school, the ones that don't have someone to stand up for them."

Silberstein explained she wants her classmates to feel safe. 

"When I go into the high school, I want to make sure that the middle school is safe for the students who don't have someone to stand up for them," said Bayli. "When I started experienced bullying firsthand, it's a big difference witnessing and experiencing it. It doesn't seem as bad, like it's going to hurt as much, but once it's toward you, it's a completely different feeling and that's when i realized how many people had to go through that."

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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