Sad news out of Palm Coast, Florida…
Over 500 students at Flagler-Palm Coast High School protested the state’s anti-LGBTQ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill yesterday by walking out of school for 20 minutes or so. The main organizer of the event was suspended ‘until further notice’ (which is illegal under U.S. Supreme Court precedent) by the high school principal for bringing and distributing pride flags to students. The principal told the student that he was ‘disrespectful and openly advocating against staff.’ Before the protest, the principal pulled the student aside and ‘voiced his opposition’ to the pride flags.
As the article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal notes, “students who showed up to the stadium with flags and other pride-related merchandise were blocked by administrators attempting to confiscate them.” Additionally, “students at the event said administrators circled protesters in the stadium, threatening them with discipline if they didn’t turn in their pride and LGBTQ+ flags.”
The school district spokesperson said that student leaders were told no flags prior to and at the beginning of the event “so as to avoid undue safety concerns and campus disruptions.” Here are the flags in question that apparently were a disruptive safety concern:
The school district superintendent also has banned the book, All Boys Aren’t Blue, from school libraries so there appear to be ongoing issues in the community regarding equity, acceptance, and inclusion.
As student bodies continue to become more diverse – and as LGBTQIA+ students and their families continue to advocate for greater acceptance of their human rights and dignity – it is imperative that school administrators figure out ways to move their school systems forward, not backward.
We need to do better than this.