ORLANDO, Fla. — A number of students in Central Florida and statewide walked out of class Monday in protest of the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
What You Need To Know
- Winter Park High School students walk out of class Monday morning
- Walkouts expected at a number of schools statewide in protest of critic-dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” bill
- Public school students in Orange County permitted to protest “as long as they follow all school safety guidelines,” says spokesperson
Hundreds of students at Winter Park High protested against the bill, which is set to hit the Senate floor later Monday for discussion. More walkouts are expected to happen ahead of the Senate's session. Walkouts happened at other schools statewide Thursday and Friday.
The legislation — officially titled the "Parental Rights in Education" bill — is up for discussion on the Senate’s Special Order calendar for Monday. The bill would prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, or in any grade if it is “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
While many supporters said they believe a child younger than third grade wouldn't even be thinking about gender and sexuality, critics of the bill said they believe it will severely limit a child's self-expression and open the door for more bullying.
"We want to send kids to school to learn the basics. Some issues are not age-appropriate and we want to see protection for that," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday at a press conference.
An Orange County Public Schools spokesperson issued a statement Friday on recent and upcoming walkouts, saying: “The district supports our students’ ability to peacefully voice their opinions and (students) are permitted to partake in a protest as long as they follow all school safety guidelines.”
Critics are calling it an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.
"Our families are valid. Our lives deserve to be dignified and respected and celebrated alongside everyone else's," Brandon Wolf with Equality Florida expressed.