Carver Center Walk-Out: “Don’t Say Gay”

video by Catalyst staff

Kalliyan Winder

March 11th 2022 Carver Center students took to the entrance of the building in a Walk-Out, passing a microphone to share their grievances about Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed by Florida Senate on March 8th, 2022 has appalled citizens nationwide and called them to action. The bill put forth by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis  would ban “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” within school systems. Specifically banning Florida’s K-3 curriculum discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity, refusing to update the curriculum to meet current social standards by only including fiction/nonfiction with heterosexual relationships.

Opposers to this bill have brought up concerns of increased violence due to the vague language. One concern is that schools or individuals will be able to manipulate the use of the bill, increasing hate crimes, lawsuits, and general bullying towards LGBTQ+ adolescence, parents, and teachers within Florida State. Many fear for the future of LGBTQ+ acceptance as this bill could become the face of acceptable bigoted legislation within other states. As well, older florida students worry that the bill could possibly see expansion to secondary schools.

As opposition increases, schools nationwide took to walks-outs to protest the bill, gathering momentum in numbers. This is meant to raise awareness and encourage people to email Florida lawmakers, sign petitions, and speak out about the injustices Florida youth will face due to this bill. Carver Center has done the same.

The walk out consisted of a large group, approximately 100 students, gathered around a park bench sharing their thoughts, concerns, and words of encouragement surrounding recent news. Supportive staff watched as the students bared their hearts:

“We are very privileged to be where we’re at, to be at a school like this, but there [are] people at schools who can’t be themselves! That needs to change!” -Jae’lah 

“There’s too much hate already! Why hate on someone for being themselves? You want to be yourself? Let somebody be theirself!” -Chaz

“Schools should allow people to be themselves”- Anonymous 

Even from our own Ms. Steele, when asked about her feelings on this specific walk out, replied encouragingly, “I’m a social studies teacher.”

She went on to share her support, referencing how she encourages students fighting for causes they deem important to self expression. To the walk-out specifically, she communicated that she is glad that our students have a safe space to express their emotions in a controlled and safe environment. It gives inexperienced students a chance to stand up and protest before they explore more mature versions of outcry.

The walk-out gave students a chance to spread information and endorsement for a cause ingrained into our high school, a cause integral to the students and culture of Carver Center.