(Editor's note: This is an open letter from Bayli Silberstein, 14, a bisexual eighth-grader in Florida who is seeking your help to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at her school. Here is her story.)
It's been a tough year at school. My friends and I have been the targets of intense name-calling and harassment — just because of who we are and who we like. The bullying and discrimination were getting out of hand, so we decided to form a student group called a Gay-Straight Alliance.
But the school has refused to let us form the group.
Now, the school board wants to ban ALL extracurricular clubs, just to stop us from forming a Gay-Straight Alliance.
I'm really shocked and disappointed that the school board would do this, so I'm speaking out. The board will be discussing the proposal on Monday, and supporters will pack the room to let them know we won't stand to be silenced by another, bigger bully. Sign the petition now, and the ACLU and I will deliver your signatures at the meeting.
We need a place where we can talk about the harassment my friends and classmates experience at my school. All across the country, students like me are working hard to reduce homophobic remarks in the hallways that divide and hurt us, and fighting to create a greater sense of safety in schools. I'm proud to be a part of it.
But the school board is going out of its way to silence the conversation about harassment. They are even willing to punish every student in the Lake County district (and limit our freedom of speech in the process) by banning all extracurricular clubs.
Please take a minute and sign the petition asking the school board to stop trying to unfairly change the rules.
Tell the Lake County School Board to drop the ban on student groups and allow us to form a Gay-Straight Alliance.
Thank you for standing with me,