WATCH LIVE: Cypress Bay High School students hold ‘Say Gay’ walkout after lawmakers pass controversial bill
Students at Cypress Bay High School in Weston are holding a “Say Gay” walkout Wednesday morning against Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which lawmakers passed on Tuesday and which now moves to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law.
“Cypress is the largest high school in Florida; therefore, we can make a huge impact,” a flyer promoting the walkout stated, reassuring students that security and police would be present to keep everyone safe and that students would not be penalized for participating in the walkout.
There have already been several protests in Tallahassee and cities across the state, as members of Florida’s LGBTQ community feel targeted and ostracized.
The house sponsor of the Parents’ Rights Bill, State Rep. Joseph Harding, insists that is not the purpose of the bill.
“Nowhere in the bill do we limit them being able to confide to someone at school,” Harding said while appearing on This Week in South Florida Sunday morning. “That’s the biggest misconception of the bill. And it’s just not in the words on the page.”
Before being sent to the Senate floor, the bill was amended to give parents a path to take the issue up with the school before they sue if they have concerns about their child’s welfare.
The bill ensures parents are notified of health changes, allowed access to student records, given prior permissions for health screenings and allows them to refuse school healthcare for their students.
Concerns that fuel the opposition come in a paragraph more than halfway through the bill, which reads:
“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in K through 3rd grade or in a manner that is not age appropriate…”
Florida’s first openly gay senator is South Florida’s Shevrin Jones, who reminded colleagues before the bill was passed that, “I sit in the same room with you and your actions and words matter.”
“I would never say that parents should not have the right to ask what’s going to happen with their child. I’d be crazy to do that,” he said. “But what we have to understand is that there are children who do not come from households that are supportive and loving.”