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Gay Florida High Schooler Faces Threat Over Graduation Speech

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Zander Moricz says he’s always had a good relationship with the principal at Pine View School. But when the Florida high school student sat down with the administrator two weeks ago, the tone of the conversation shook him.The principal, Stephen Covert, wanted to deter the senior class president from discussing his activism in a graduation speech, and for the teen to stay away from an ongoing lawsuit challenging Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, Moricz tells The Advocate.“It was so shocking, as I know that I believe that as a human being, Dr.

Covert is someone who would support what I'm doing and support these rights,” Moricz says. “This law is so effective in turning people into vehicles of oppression that he was unrecognizable in that meeting.”Moricz, Pine View School’s first gay class president, is one of the individual plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s law, which prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms and requires the topics to be handled at any grade level in an age-appropriate way.

For Moricz, the conversation with Covert demonstrated that the vagueness of the law will ensure educators are afraid to discuss matters important to queer students of any age.

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