Protest School District’s Denial of Gay-Straight Alliance Club

Target: Chairperson Kyleen Fischer and members of the Lake County School Board

Goal: To demand that the Lake County School Board allow students to form a gay-straight alliance club in their district.

After witnessing her fellow students being targets of anti-gay bulling, 14-year-old Bayli Silberstein recently applied for permission to form a gay-straight alliance club (GSA) at her middle school. Instead of applauding her decision to stand up to bullies, or at least allowing the club to exist like any other student group, the Lake County school district is now considering eliminating all non-curriculum based clubs. Not only would this decision negatively affect hundreds of students involved in extracurricular activities, but it also sends a distinct message to LGBTQ students: you do not deserve the same rights as your peers.

With the soaring depression and suicide rates of LGBTQ teens and the widespread support of anti-bullying campaigns like the It Gets Better Project, one might think a school principal would be thrilled to see students engaged in making their school a safer place. But according to the Lake County School Board Chairperson Kyleen Fischer, the district should focus on education because “social engineering” is not the job of the school board. This cowardly statement completely ignores the fact that schools are a major component of the socialization of young people. School is not simply the place where kids spend hours learning math and English; it is also where they learn the social tools they will use in the “real world” such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, and—unfortunately—how to deal with discrimination.

Silberstein’s courageous efforts to address discrimination in a healthy, positive way should be commended, not struck down. Sign the petition below to tell the Lake County School Board to allow the formation of gay-straight alliance clubs and put an end to the ridiculous discussion of eliminating all non-curriculum based clubs.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairperson Kyleen Fischer and members of the Lake County School Board,

As you are aware, a courageous student in your district recently attempted to form a gay-straight alliance club (GSA) at her school after she and her peers experienced bullying based on sexual orientation. Instead of applauding her decision to stand up to the bullies, the Lake County School Board has taken the coward’s way out. The fact that your school board would discuss disallowing any non-curriculum based club to exist is ridiculous in and of itself, but it is especially appalling considering the discussion has only taken place in light of Bayli Silberstein’s application for a GSA at Carver Middle School. Not only would this decision negatively affect hundreds of students involved in extracurricular activities, but it also sends a distinct message to LGBTQ students: you do not deserve the same rights as your peers.

Ms. Fischer has claimed it is not the job of the school board to participate in “social engineering.” This statement completely ignores the fact that schools are a major component of the socialization of young people. School is where kids learn the social tools they will use in the “real world” such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, and—unfortunately—how to deal with discrimination. One board members has stated his concern “that one club would push out the remainder of the clubs that are doing good things.” The only reason a GSA would “push out” other “good” clubs is because you have allowed it to.

Studies show that gay teenagers are over three times more likely to commit suicide than their gay peers, for which bullying based on sexual orientation is a major contributing factor. This likelihood increases in areas that are more conservative and lack support networks for LGBTQ youth. Miss Silberstein’s courageous efforts to address discrimination in a healthy, positive way should be commended, not struck down. We demand that you respect the right to free speech of all students, and that includes LGBTQ students.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: nerdcoregirl via Flickr

Sign the Petition

  • Your email will not be published. By signing you accept the ForceChange terms of service and may receive updates on this and related petitions.

Facebook Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Signatures

  • pmhujmjJH
  • Austin Egnor-Keil
  • Stefano Serpico
  • Jim
  • Gregory Brown
  • Susan Lee
  • Ryan Bradley
  • Charles Scheel
1 of 5123...5