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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

GALLERY: Prom 2024
GALLERY: Prom 2024
April 7, 2024

MAST Academy students walk out to oppose effects of Florida LGBTQ law

By Mercedes Halliburton and Maria Duque
Beacon Staff Writers


MAST Academy students walked out of class to the athletic field Friday afternoon to protest Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and other bills they feel discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and citizens. 

Hundreds of students, some carrying signs and posters, left from Period 7 around 1:20 p.m. Teachers and administrators observed students leaving the building and arriving at the field. 

“As a principal, I have the duty of supporting my students,” MAST Academy principal Dr. Collman-Perez said. “But I also have to remain neutral.” 

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Members of the Gay-Straight Alliance, led by co-presidents Enzo Fouquet and Nicole Gamarra, spoke to the crowd about the Florida House Bill 1557, known as the Parental Rights in Education law and called by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

MAST Academy students sit on the athletic field Friday afternoon during a walkout in opposition to government action perceived as harmful to the LGBTQ+ community. Photo by Mercedes Halliburton.
MAST Academy students sit on the athletic field Friday afternoon during a walkout in opposition to government action perceived as harmful to the LGBTQ+ community. Photo by Mercedes Halliburton.

About halfway through the event, junior Mia Reyes asked students to leave who were only there to skip class and not support the cause. A significant number, mostly made up of middle-school students, stood and left. Some students who chose to say booed those who chose to leave. Reyes alleged the request was motivated by a personal attack. 

“I had these two freshmen sitting in front of me before I got up to talk and they were literally calling us dogs,” Reyes said after the event. “So, that is the exact reason I come to these things, to tell people like that to leave.” 

This is a breaking news story and will update.

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    TaimaNov 7, 2022 at 9:38 am

    This is great student activism – bravo MAST students and thank you to Principal Dr. Collman-Perez for supporting the students and their democratic right to free speech by allowing them this opportunity to rally. I would like to hear more about what the organizers said to the crowd about the Florida House Bill 1557.
    I hope everyone who can, and hasn’t already voted, votes tomorrow! Every vote counts is not just a slogan.

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MAST Academy students walk out to oppose effects of Florida LGBTQ law