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Denver students walk out of school to protest 'Don't say gay' bill

All 300 students at the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools rallied together on Friday.

DENVER — Friday, students at multiple schools in Colorado walked out in solidarity with LGBTQ+ students in Florida. 

In Denver, students at West High School and the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools (GALS) protested the so-called "Don't say gay" bill. 

"We say gay! We say gay!" chanted students at GALS as they walked out of their school and down Galapago Street.

"It felt great marching today," said 15-year-old 9th grader Alex Pacheco.

The entire middle and high school, about 300 students, their teachers and administrators all rallied together. 

Cars honked and waved at them, showing their support.

"It actually made me know that people care," said 12-year-old 6th grader Max Walters.

Students were protesting the Parental Rights in Education bill in Florida. It would prohibit talking about gender identity and sexual orientation with students in kindergarten through third grade. 

"It felt really empowering to be marching with so many other students that feel the same way," said 15-year-old 10th grader Keena Hatsell. 

Pacheco said it's important for students to make their voice heard. 

"We wanted to fight to show support for other people who are like us," said Pacheco. "We need to keep going forward instead of backwards."

Walters said they're proud to stand up and speak out against legislation that feels hateful.

"It makes me mad that no one else can learn about what I feel and what I am," they said. "They're trying to make it so I can't have a place in society. They're trying to make it so I have to be set aside as to what they think I should be, not what I am."

Hatsell organized the protest and brought it to the attention of the school's teachers.

"We will not stand silent when the government is trying to pass laws that are directly aimed at hurting us," said Hatsell. "We are going to be the youth that runs this country and it's important that we spread these issues around so people know what is going on and how wrong this is."

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