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Polk County Students Protest Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Polk County High School students held a walk-out to protest Florida's Don't Say Gay Bill, which was passed through the state senate on Tuesday. The bill would ban classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools.

The peaceful protest happened on Monday at River Ridge High School and students have one message: Conversations relating to the LGBTQ community should be allowed no matter the age.

Isa Cacciavillani is a junior at River Ridge High School and organized the protest. She says "The last person who needs to be hating you is yourself. Don't say gay is not okay. It's harmful to queer youth, it's harmful to their families, and queer administrators."

The bill would ban conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary schools.

"I knew I was queer in Elementary school and if I wasn't able to have those open conversations in a safe and open place, I could have been so much worse overall at the end of the day," said Cacciavillani.

She says children need to be able to have these conversations at school even at an early age.

"If this passes, they wont be able to have some sort of safe outlet, they wont be able to have a safe space at school where they would be able to discuss these kinds of topics," said Cacciavillani.

On the other hand, one student who didn't want to go on camera said children that young shouldn't be having conversatins about sexual orientation in the first place.

Alyssa Casbar and Maddox Padgett joined the protest on Monday and say the bill wont stop these topics from being brought up.

"Asking about 'Why does my friend have two dads?' or 'Why does my friend wear a rainbow shirt all the time?" said Casbar.

"Kids are curious. They're going to ask questions and want to know things. And I think it's important to understand that kids aren't dumb, they can learn, they can be educated," said Padgett.

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