Gay hiking

Sarasota student can’t say ‘don’t say gay’ in graduation speech

A Sarasota County high school student – and one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against what critics are calling the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law – says he was told to keep his activism out of his speech. end of study.

The law, officially titled “Parental Rights in Education,” was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year. Legislation prohibits mentioning of gender identity or sexual orientation in primary grades, and mentioning them “in a way that is not age-appropriate” in older grades.

Equality Florida, families and other parties have filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the new law violates constitutional rights. Zander Moricz is one of the complainants and a senior at Pine View School in Osprey

Moricz said in a series of social media posts that officials told him leaders had a cue to end his speech if he referenced his role in the trial or the movement.

He spoke to WUSF last month about his need to fight the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“I’m at a privilege where I can use my voice and express myself,” he said. “And I know a lot of my peers and a lot of community members aren’t in a position where they can do that. And so the second it became an option for me, it wasn’t an option. for me not to.”

READ MORE: Sarasota student fears ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law could harm LGBTQ kids’ school experience

In a statement, the Sarasota County School District says schools are reviewing speech expectations and guidelines, as well as student speeches.

The district also confirms that the Pine View manager met with Moricz to remind him of the expectations, but added that his speech has not yet been reviewed.

Officials add that graduation is not the place for “personal political statements” and that deviating from expectations may require action.