ACLU Sues Central Florida School District Over Gay-Straight Club

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday sued a central Florida school district for the second time this year, claiming it is once again refusing to approve a gay-straight alliance club at a middle school.

The ACLU filed the federal lawsuit against the Lake County Schools, located northwest of Orlando.

Earlier this year, the ACLU sued the district on behalf of a student after officials at Carver Middle School refused to approve the club whose goal is to provide a supportive environment for gay and lesbian students. A short time later, the school board agreed to a settlement allowing the club to form. The club met three times before the end of the school year, although students claimed discussion was chilled by the presence of a principal or an assistant principal at the meetings, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday.

In August, the board passed new rules for school clubs and required all existing clubs to reapply in order to meet.

The application for a gay-straight club at Carver Middle School was rejected, and the ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a seventh-grader at Carver Elementary School, claiming violations of free speech and equal access.

Lake County Schools spokesman Chris Patton said school officials hadn't received the lawsuit yet and he couldn't comment on it.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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