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Montford Middle School students stage walk-out over "Don't Say Gay" law

Posted at 7:06 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 19:06:59-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — the protest happened beyond the entry gates at Montford Middle School, all the way in the back of the PE fields away from any cameras.

Ashley Holt said that her daughter asked her if it was okay to participate in the student led protest of House Bill 1557, or the "Don't Say Gay" bill at Montford Middle School.

"I told her absolutely, that she could stand up for what she believed in, that if she properly knew what the bill was about, she should stand up and say something," said Holt.

While Holt said she supported the protest, other parents like Brandi Andrews said they didn't want their students to participate.

"I wouldn't want my daughter involved in this, I wouldn't mind if someone asked her what her thoughts were, but no, I absolutely do not support her to walk out and join a protest," said Andrews.

Principal Lewis Blessing of Montford Middle School said in an email to concerned parents that staff didn't plan the protest-- but it was within the student's rights to protest saying in part in the email:

"The Supreme Court has given students the right to protest at school as long as it is not causing a disruption. The students have been given this information and also told that anyone who walks out of class will face consequences."

However both parents agree that students protesting shouldn't disrupt any school time at all...

"It's definitelty better to not be disrupting the teachers who are here to teach, and students who are here to learn," said Andrews.

""Since it was during lunch, it didn't take any time away from their day, and it was a time for them to stand up for what they believe in," said Holt.

We reached out to Leon County Schools and Principal Lewis Blessing for comment Friday, we have yet to hear back.

The ruling the principal of Montford is referring was based on a 1969 supreme court ruling. Students in Iowa were protesting against the Vietnam War at the time.

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruling students do have first amendment rights on public schools.

The Court took the position that school officials could not prohibit only on the suspicion that the speech might disrupt the learning.