PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pasco County Schools’ decision to remove “safe space” stickers from all of its buildings has some parents confused.
“Leave it as is,” said Adrian Nelson. “Because if it’s not offending anyone, if it’s not offensive, it’s not offensive — then why, why take it away?”
Nelson is the parent of a Seven Springs Middle School student.
The district said the move is in accordance with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, what critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”
“They have a voice, everyone should have a voice, ” Nelson said. “To just strip that away is like, you know, kind of like stripping away their voice, you know, like stripping away who they are as an individual.”
In a statement, the school district said, “they have become a flashpoint that distracts from our goals of creating a school-wide and districtwide safe environment.”
Pasco County Schools declined our request for an interview.
The Women’s Republican Club of Pasco County told 8 On Your Side they feel schools should be a safe space for everyone and that there’s no need for a sticker saying so.
Governor DeSantis and supporters of the Parental Rights in Education Act contend that rainbow symbols amount to indoctrination. But critics, like Equality Florida’s Brandon Wolf, disagree.
“This is a school district that is making a school environment more hostile toward LGBTQ young people,” Wolf said. “Less safe for those young people.”
Wolf said those rainbow stickers in classrooms, no matter how small, help more than you might think.
“They mean something to someone who doesn’t feel safe in the world,” Wolf explained.