Students Opinions on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill


In the image above, students of a Tampa Bay school are waving pride flags during a walk-out protest.

On Feb 24, 2022, Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would restrict grades K-3rd to talk about sexual orientation and gender identities in all of Florida’s school counties. The bill would allow parents to sue teachers or the county for simply talking about the LGBTQ+ community or anything associated with it. The bill goes into effect on July 1.

As an effort to stop this bill from being passed, many Florida schools held walk-out protests. Students have shown their disgust in many ways.

 At one of the protests, a student named Jack from Flagler Palm Coast High School, handed out 200 pride flags to classmates after the principal and teachers told him not to. Florida students were not the only ones showing their disgust towards the bill. 

Thousands of people all over the country performed protests to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Many parents are backing up their kids on the protest because they agree that it’s preventing kids from expressing who they truly are.

One mother mentioned how children ,like her ten year old Stella, are going to be negatively impacted by this. Her daughter has four mothers, a lesbian couple who adopted her, her birth mother, and birth father who recently came out as transgender. 

Children from LGBTQ+ families won’t have the representation in the classroom that children from traditional families do. Teachers won’t be able to have books representing different families or talk about family trees because it could express some sort of sexual orientation.

Although the bill is established for grades K through third, it will inevitably affect students in older grades. Students who are beyond elementary school see this as a path of destruction for the younger, upcoming generation.

Patriot, Greta Laing 25’ expressed her concern in a recent interview stating, “It’s [the bill] really teaching them that who they are is a bad thing. It’s a terrible thing to tell a kid that who you are is not good enough for the world.”

In a world where suicide rates are rising, and mental health is declining, the government is making it harder to feel accepted.Feeling accepted is a major part of a students metal health.  

Greta Laing 25’ continued to express how the government is focusing more on the smaller issues then the main problem.

“The government is not helping and they’re trying to get rid of a problem that doesn’t exist, when really they should be helping students feel better about themselves and not making them feel so much worse.”

Not only will laws like this start young kids off with a lack of support for who they are or who their family is, but it can strain relationships with their teachers. Schools should be a safe place for all students to go.

Florida’s Democratic state Senator Tina Polsky even said that instead of the government coming up with bills such as this, they should be supporting and building a more inclusive and tolerant society. Laws like this only deepen the divide between the LGBTQ+ community from society by placing laws that would distance the LGBTQ+ community from everyone else.

When asked how she felt about the bill, Patriot, Emily Yelanjian 23’ said, “I feel like it’s a target for all ages. Of course young kids have trouble understanding hard things but we could definitely teach them.”  

Although this bill has been put into law in the state of Florida, it is not the last of its kind, Arizona is planing on a bill that “aims to change the state’s sex-ed curriculum to focus on biological sex and “not gender identities.” Adding on, Iowa they would “require that parents opt in — in writing — to any instruction “relating to gender identity.” 

DeKalb County students performing a walk-out protest at Dekalb School of the Arts.
Floridians protesting against the ‘Dont Say Gay Bill’ in front of the Florida capital.

If the government continues to build barriers, then we need to find ways of breaking them down. Acceptance of all is important for society to move forward. If schools continue to be put under restrictions like this, it is society’s job to show acceptance and understanding however we can.