SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Middle and high school students across Seminole County walked out Thursday afternoon in protest of a Florida bill that would ban discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms across the state.
According to a Seminole County Public Schools spokesperson, student-led protests, varying “by size and scope,” were held on two middle school and nine high school campuses to support the LGBTQ community in the face of HB 1557, nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its detractors.
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Michael Lawrence, the school district’s communications officer, said the events mostly occurred during lunch hours and were “not endorsed by the school or the district.”
The controversial bill at the center of the districtwide protests was approved by the Florida House last week and is set to move to the GOP-controlled Senate.
According to the bill, written by Republican Rep. Joe Harding, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The proposal has drawn national attention and condemnation from officials as far up as The White House.