Schoolhouse Beat

Florida judge says middle school student has the right to start a gay-straight club

A federal judge has ruled that a Lake County, Fla., eighth-grader had the right to start a gay-straight club at Carver Middle School in Leesburg. The Orlando Sentinel says the order settles a lawsuit against the Lake County school district brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein. Bayli contended that she had been blocked from starting a Gay-Straight Alliance; a principal took no action on her club application, and school board members tried to create new policies to prevent her club from forming. After the lawsuit was filed, Superintendent Susan Moxley agreed to let the club meet while the case was pending. The final order upholds that agreement and calls for the district to pay Bayli $1 for nominal damages and pay the $14,000 bill for legal fees.

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