JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly 70 students at Paxon School for Advanced Studies walked out of class Wednesday in protest of the Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics often call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday.
The legislation forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, a policy that has drawn intense national scrutiny from critics who argue it marginalizes LGBTQ people.
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The students marched out of Paxon and gathered on the football field. The students held signs and could be heard chanting, “We say gay.”
While DeSantis and sponsors have said the bill will prevent teachers from instructing students in third grade or younger about harmful subjects, these students say that gender identity and sexual orientation are not only appropriate but critical aspects of one’s humanity and that prohibiting teaching about them serves only increased intolerance of a section of the population.
The protest was peaceful and organized in coordination with the school’s administration.
While the law is likely to face legal challenges, it has already garnered backlash from progressive organizations and major corporations.