ORLANDO, Fla. — Students at Edgewater High School on Friday joined a growing list of their peers who are walking out of classes in protest of the legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that is rapidly advancing through the Florida Legislature.

They won’t be the last. Winter Park students plan a walkout for 9 a.m. Monday on the courtyard between the 300 and 800 buildings. A flyer providing information on that walkout says it’s “in protest of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation” and urges participants to bring school-appropriate signs in opposition to the legislation and Pride flags.

What You Need To Know

  • Edgewater students walked out Friday to protest bill dubbed "Don't Say Gay"

  • Winter Park High students plan a walkout on Monday

  • The Parental Rights in Education bill is scheduled to arrive on the Senate floor Monday

  • A Flagler County student leader was "administratively excused from campus" during a walkout at Florida Palm Coast

The Senate legislation, officially named the Parental Rights in Education bill, would limit when and how teachers and school staff can discuss gender and sexual orientation in the classroom.

The bill on Thursday was placed on the Senate’s Special Order Calendar and is expected to arrive on the Senate floor Monday. The House already has approved the legislation.

Some students who participated in a walkout at Flagler Palm Coast High School on Thursday have been identified by school administrators as being in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, according to Jason Wheeler, public information officer of Flagler County Public Schools.

In addition, a student leader in that walkout “has been administratively excused from campus so that the school administration can conduct their investigation,” Wheeler said. That status allows a student to continue to do schoolwork without any marks against his or her school record or attendance.

According to Wheeler, district administrators worked with the principals at Flagler County's two public high schools to establish a plan to allow for the student protest, even though sit-ins, boycotts, walkouts and the like violate school board policy 522.

That policy states: “Any student who participates in a boycott, walkout, sit-in, strike, or any similar disruptive action which interferes with an orderly operation of the school shall be deemed guilty of serious misconduct and shall be subject to suspension or dismissal from school."

A block of time had been set aside for students on both high school campuses to take part in their planned protest and they then were given the opportunity to head back to their classrooms, Wheeler said. Under the plan, if students reported to class beyond the time allotted, they would be subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

Wheeler said student leaders also were told "no flags" prior to and at the beginning of the event “to avoid undue safety concerns and campus disruptions,” as specified in the Student Code of Conduct, which prohibits items not required for school/educational lessons.

An Orange County Public Schools spokesman said, “The district supports our students’ ability to peacefully voice their opinions and (they) are permitted to partake in a protest as long as they follow all school safety guidelines.”

Students at schools in Seminole County, including Seminole High School in Sanford, and Lake and Brevard counties also participated in walkouts Thursday, and a group of students protested at Florida’s capital in Tallahassee.

The Senate bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-District 12-Ocala), said the bill is meant to stop districts from putting lessons into the curriculum, not to stop teachers from engaging in any spontaneous discussions.

"I am not doing this to hate on anybody,” Baxley said. “I am not trying to demonize anybody. I'm not trying to negate the values of teachers. I am just trying to come back to center point. Parents must be in charge of these decisions."