By Patricia Sullivan
“We travel in packs” said Lisa Tillmann, a professor from Rollins College. That is how she introduced herself to the Lake County School Board on the evening of March 11th.
It was an appropriate way of announcing the attack about to be unleashed on the parents of Lake County’s public school children by professors from Rollins College and the ACLU.
She was preceded by two assistant professors, Dr. Erik Kenyon and Samuel Sanabria. None of them live in Lake County.
The pack was advocating for the establishment of the Gay Straight Alliance club at Carver Middle School.
In reference to the board’s impending policy decision regarding clubs and organizations, Tillmann went on to say “I urge you not to require parental consent.”
The Equal Access Act, a federal law passed in 1984, requires equal access be given to all extracurricular clubs at federally funded secondary schools. There had been some discussion that the school district would prefer to have only curriculum based clubs, but that would not have been fair.
Many students participate and excel in clubs such as Clermont Middle’s Knit-Witts. They recently delivered dolls they had knit to the elderly.
Instead, the Board voted to adopt an open forum for both middle and high schools, but required that “all student clubs and organizations shall obtain a Consent Form from the parents of each participating student, on a form provided by the District.”
According to the superintendent, there are 41,000 students enrolled in Lake County’s Public Schools. One parent showed up for the 6 p.m. meeting to affirm the request of parental consent. Speaking of her son, Tina Rizzo stated that she wanted to know “what his club associations are going to be.”
To the other parents of school students in Lake County, please be aware that the American Civil Liberties Union does not want you to know what your children’s club associations are going to be. So much so, that they’ve begun a full assault on your parental rights.
On Tuesday morning, while the board’s preliminary decision from the night before was still warm, the ACLU of Florida issued a press release. One of their policy strategists, Daniel Tilley, stated:
“We have seen in other places that parental-consent requirements like those the school board passed can create administrative burdens, prevent access to support groups for minority students, and discourage participation in extracurricular activities.”
Let those words sink in. If the ACLU has their way, and lures another 100 activists to the April 22 School Board meeting, where the final vote on this policy change will take place, parents’ rights may be on the chopping block.
Sure, clubs may be considered safe now, but what about when the “Luciferian Hell Fire Club” gets started, or, since schools in New York have now included bestiality in their curriculum, how long will it be before Lake County gets an “Animal Lovers” club? When they do, parents won’t know if their child drops in or joins a club, if the ACLU gets their wish — pardon me, if the ACLU and the professors at Rollins College get their wish.
After Professor Lisa Tillman urged the School Board not to require parental consent, some in the audience were curious why this “pack” from Rollins had driven so far, or how they even knew of the Board’s agenda.
Perhaps it was Dr. Kenyon’s fellow faculty member in the Philosophy and Religion Department, Eric Smaw. He would have had the skinny, since Smaw is also one of the elite ACLU of Florida Board of Directors.
Indeed, they do travel in packs. The question is, will parents of Lake County students show up on April 22nd and protect their young, or remain silent and feed them to the wolves.
Patricia Sullivan is the Lake County Republican state committeewoman. She ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 under the Tea Party banner and was also elected chairwoman of the Tea Party Network, serving for much of 2012.