Gay high schooler says he’s ‘being silenced’ by Florida’s LGBTQ law

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Florida high school senior Zander Moricz was called into his principal’s office last week. As class president his whole high school career — and his school’s first openly LGBTQ student to hold the title — this was a fairly routine request. But once he entered the administrator’s office, he said, he immediately knew “this wasn’t a typical meeting.”

His principal — Stephen Covert of Pine View School in Osprey, Florida, roughly 70 miles south of Tampa — warned Moricz that if his graduation speech referenced his LGBTQ activism, school officials would cut off his microphone, end his speech and halt the ceremony, Moricz alleged.

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“He said that he just ‘wanted families to have a good day’ and that if I was to discuss who I am and the fight to be who I am, that would ‘sour the celebration,’” Moricz, 18, recalled. “It was incredibly dehumanizing.”

Covert did not reply to NBC News’ questions concerning his alleged warning to Moricz. However, he released a statement through his employer, Sarasota County Schools, saying he and other school officials “champion the uniqueness of every single student on their personal and educational journey.”

In a statement, Sarasota County Schools confirmed Covert and Moricz’s meeting, adding that graduation speeches are routinely reviewed to ensure they are “appropriate to the tone of the ceremony.”