In Lake County, Florida, the school board is considering eliminating all extra-curricular student groups in secondary schools. The reason is that the law requires schools to not discriminate when it comes to such groups -- if they let anyone form such a group, then they have to let gay students form a group.
This horrifies local Christians so much that they would rather deprive everyone of student groups in order to ensure that gay students are deprived of a group. After all, the overall goal of the Christian Right is to deprive gays of equal legal protection, equal rights, and even just equal consideration as human beings.
Bayli Silberstein wanted to create a Gay-Straight Alliance student club at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, Florida. The purpose, like with all such clubs, is to create a place for students to be themselves and to oppose the bullying which so commonly afflicts gay students. That's unacceptable.
School Board members Bill Mathias, Debbie Stivender and Chairwoman Kyleen Fischer spoke in favor of a rule that would ban extra-curricular clubs in secondary schools while fellow board members Tod Howard and Rosanne Brandeburg favored banning extra-curricular clubs only in middle schools.
Fischer said the district should focus on education and that "social engineering" is not the job of the School Board. "It is not our job to socially mentor students, but to educate them," she said.
Howard said he was worried about the clubs that would be lost under stricter rules. "I am very concerned that one club would push out the remainder of the clubs that are doing good things," he said.
Source: Orlando Sentinel
It's a tragedy that a person like Kyleen Fischer is on the school board at all, never mind the chair, because she so terribly misunderstands what schools are for. Obviously education is central to a school's mission, but mentoring is also critical. Schools aren't doing their job at all if they aren't able to create a healthy social environment where young people learn healthy forms of social interaction, learning how to interact with other people who are both alike and different from them.
You can't create a social institution where people interact socially for several hours each day without also influencing their social development -- especially when you're dealing with young people. You can do so either in a healthy or in an unhealthy way. Any attempt to abandon this will necessarily lead to an unhealthy environment and that's precisely what Kyleen Fischer is arguing for: schools which produce an unhealthy social environment.