Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.orlandosentinel.com
|OCALA — Sporting one of her favorite rainbow-colored bowties, 14-year-old Hannah Faughnan testified in federal court Monday that a gay-straight alliance serves as a refuge for tormented teenagers.
“Bullying is a very, very difficult problem, and it’s a problem for everyone,” Hannah, a student at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, testified during the trial over the Lake County school district’s denial of the club application. “It’s kind of like snowflakes — no one case is like the other, and the GSA [gay-straight alliance] finds ways to solve these issues.”
The fate of Hannah’s long-awaited club rests with U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges, who heard the first day of arguments in a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. The school district denied Faughnan’s application in the fall of 2013 under a newly revised clubs policy, which required clubs to at least impart critical-thinking skills.
The ACLU contended the new clubs policy created intentionally sought to exclude gay-straight groups from middle schools. Such groups, ACLU attorney Daniel Tilley argued, are anti-bullying organizations designed to make schools safer, not a place where students discuss sex or dating.
The policy revisions followed a widely-watched dispute between the district and an earlier Carver Middle School student, Bayli Silberstein, who has since moved on to high school. Hannah took up the cause after Bayli’s departure with a separate…