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Florida Student Who is Suing the State Over Parental Rights in Education Law Claims School is Censoring His Graduation Speech


A Florida student who is suing the state over the new Parental Rights in Education law is now claiming that the school is trying to censor his graduation speech.

Zander Moricz is the senior class president at Pine View School in Sarasota County and the youngest plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state.

As class president, Moricz is scheduled to speak at graduation, but claims that the school administration is trying to prevent him from getting political.

“A few days ago, my principal called me into his office and informed me that if my graduation speech referenced my activism or role as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, school administration had a signal to cut off my microphone, end my speech, and halt the ceremony,” Moricz tweeted. “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history — this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

Moricz continued, “When administration discovered that I was organizing a Say Gay walkout, they had all our posters ripped from the walls and told me to shut down the protest. They said they would send school security if I did not listen. I held the walkout anyways, and it became our county’s largest protest. I won’t give into threats and I won’t be silenced. I have a plan to fight back again, and this time, I need your help.”

“The SEE Initiative has secured 10,000 Say Gay stickers that we’re prepared to ship to high school seniors across Florida. We want you to wear them on your gowns as you cross the graduation stage, reminding underclassmen that we’re done with highschool, not the fight,” Moricz continued, adding a link for seniors to sign up to get their stickers.

After being contacted by local station WFLA, the school district issued a lengthy statement about how all students have been instructed not to make “personal political statements,” but that they have not even reviewed Moricz speech.

“It is a great privilege to be a graduation speaker – most students share their fond memories of school experiences, give shout-outs to special teachers & staff, and share inspirational messages to help celebrate all the seniors in the graduating class as they move onto college, work, and adulthood. Out of respect for all those attending the graduation, students are reminded that a graduation should not be a platform for personal political statements, especially those likely to disrupt the ceremony. Should a student vary from this expectation during the graduation, it may be necessary to take appropriate action,” the statement said.

The statement continued, “with regard to Pine View School, we can confirm that the school’s administrators review students’ speeches annually for appropriateness and length prior to graduation in a manner that is consistent with existing law, including the First Amendment to our Constitution. As in years past, student speakers were reminded that graduation is a community celebration and were encouraged to tailor their remarks to be reflective of experiences & memories that all students could appreciate to best reflect all facets of the graduating class’s achievements. The principal did meet with Zander Moricz to remind him of the ceremony expectations, but the content of the speech has not yet been reviewed.”

Principal Dr. Stephen Covert also issued a statement, saying, “we honor and celebrate the incredible diversity in thought, belief and background in our school, and champion the uniqueness of every single student on their personal and educational journey.”

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