Jack Petocz, the student activist who organized Florida’s statewide school walkout over the state’s “don’t say gay” bill has been suspended indefinitely from his high school, Flagler Palm Coast. After the suspension, Petocz took to Twitter to share his story.
I organized the statewide #DSGWalkout today in response to attempts to silence and erase the LGBTQ+ community in Florida. I was indefinitely suspended from my school for organizing a peaceful rally. Read my full statement below. pic.twitter.com/R5tplMvC8D
— Jack Petocz (@Jack_Petocz) March 3, 2022
According to Petocz, the school initially supported his idea for a walkout (which ultimately saw thousands from across the state walk out in protest, including over 400 from his own school). However, shortly before the protest, the school’s principal decided he wanted to call off the walkout and school officials even began confiscating pride flags from students and around campus.
Petocz told students not to give up their pride flags, as the school had no constitutional ground to confiscate them. However, He was then promptly suspended from school, told to grab his belongings, and was even escorted off campus.
His statement on Twitter has since been liked over 24,000 times and he’s receiving support from across the nation. In fact, a Change.org petition has even been launched to call for the school to rescind his suspension. The petition, which aims at 5,000 signatures, is currently at almost 4,000.
He’s also receiving support from local politicians. State congressman Carlos G. Smith posted to Twitter, supporting Petocz, and calling attention to the danger that the “don’t say gay bill” poses, saying that schools taking away pride flags is a great example of the kind of treatment that’s to come if the bill gets passed.
If you want to help fight for equality in Florida, there’s a lot you can do.
~ Donate or get involved with Equality Florida, who are fighting for civil rights and equality for all.
~ Sign the Change.org petition to show your support for Jack Petocz.
~ Contact your local politicians and let them know how you feel about these discriminatory policies. Even if you don’t live in Florida, let your local politicians know that you’re against this kind of behavior and that you hope to never see it in your home state/city.