(SS) Students at Western High School in Davie joined high schools around the state in protesting Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill on Friday, holding what was meant to be a peaceful walkout.
Videos on social media show it didn’t quite go as planned, as some students carried pro-LGBT banners, others showed up with a Trump 2020 banner, and a tussle broke out.
Videos uploaded to TikTok and Snapchat show the walkout starting peacefully, with many students carrying gay, trans and bi Pride flags and repeatedly chanting “Gay! Gay! Gay! Gay! Gay!”
It didn’t take long for tensions to rise after a group of students hoisted up the Trump banner in the parking lot. The videos show they eventually climbed up on parked cars to elevate the banner.
In one video, a water bottle flies through the air into the crowd, and a student in the crowd gestures with their middle finger toward the Trump banner.
Other videos appear to show students shoving with each other, with some being thrown or knocked to the ground. Snapchat videos taken around 2 p.m. show a student with blood streaming down their face.
Davie is a semi-rural town on the western edge of Broward County known for its horse and cattle pastures and rodeo grounds.
A student who declined to provide their name said they went back to class before the melee, but their friends eventually walked into class sweaty and breathless from the experience. The student said their friends alleged that some of the kids holding the Trump banner used anti-LGBT slurs and at one point chanted “white power.”
A Davie Police spokeswoman said no one was seriously hurt and officers did not take anyone into custody or make arrests. According to the police department, some students had tripped over parking curbs and officers treated them for minor scrapes.
In a robocall sent to parents, Western principal Jimmy Arrojo thanked the “vast majority of students who participated and acted appropriately.”
“Our school supports the diversity of our students and their rights to make their voices heard,” the call starts. Arrojo goes on to explain how the students walked out at 1 p.m., during the last class of the day, in a student-led protest against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“Students who chose to participate in this protest and behaved in a manner that does not comply with the Code of Student Conduct may receive disciplinary consequences,” he said. “Western High School will continue to be a place that supports diversity and promotes tolerance. Thank you for your support and as always, GO WILDCATS!”
Screenshot via CBS Miami, YouTube.