Student Walkout


Ellianna Valkenburg

The walkout was organized to occur at 3:10, during student’s 8th period. Participants stood in front of Plant, holding signs promoting LGBT+ and Trans rights along with a variety of LGBT+ related flags.

On Tuesday, March 7, Plant students participated in an organized walkout. This walkout was in response to HB 1223, which prohibits actions relating to the use of specific pronouns in public schools from PreK- 12th grade. Along with revising requirements for instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Students participating in the walkout also protested SB 1320, which prohibits public school employees, students, and educators from referring to a person using pronouns or titles that “do not correspond with the person’s sex.”. These bills directly affect how LGBT+ students are treated and recognized in schools, along with targeting students’ and educators’ 1st amendment right to free speech.   

The walkout was organized to occur at 3:10, during students’ 8th period. Participants stood in front of Plant, holding signs promoting LGBT+ and Trans rights along with various LGBT+-related flags.  

 The organizer of the walkout, Sophomore Ella Taylor-Clark, stated they had taken a course with PEN America about protesting book bans. They then created the Tampa Teens Against Censorship Instagram page as something to possibly use in the future and later, when they saw that The Caerus Project was holding a walkout, they thought it would be the perfect time to organize one of their own.   

When asked about why this cause was important to them, Taylor- Clark said, “For me, the walkout was a symbol of student anger against our rights being taken away” Taylor- Clark stated, “I myself am queer and use they/them pronouns, and so the recent legislation that has been proposed will affect me and the rest of the LGBTQ community tremendously.”   

BH 1223 and SB 1330, introduced on March 7, 2023, are set to go into full effect come July 1, 2023. If put in place, these bills would severely change how LGBT+ students and educators are viewed and how LGBT+-related topics are handled in schools.   

Walkout participant Sophomore Kayleigh Ravesi-Hubbard believes it’s crucial for LGBT+ students to be represented in schools. “The walkout was an important cause to me because I have a lot of friends who have struggled to figure out their sexuality,” Ravesi stated. “It’s very important for LGBT students to be properly represented in schools because by trying to hide this very big part of a community from young students it can end up hurting kids mentally.”   

HB 1223 and SB 1320 add on and expand the 2022 Don’t Say Gay law, which prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels. Florida continues to build on the censorship around gender identity, and sexual orientation as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis receives and approves new bills restricting the topic for young generations.