Lafayette Students Walking Out of Class Following Proposed Legislation


Sherri McPherson

Lexington, KY. Flyers were found posted in multiple locations on the morning of the Lafayette student walkout to protest legislative bills in 2023.

Disclaimer: All parties are anonymous due to privacy concerns


You might have heard about a walkout happening Friday, February 24th at 10:45 A.M. Students will be walking out to protest three bills going through Kentucky legislation, House Bill 173, House Bill 177, and Senate Bill 150, nicknamed “anti-woke” bills. 

House Bill 173 and Senate Bill 150 generally cover the same topic, LGBTQ+ students and teachers in schools. House Bill 173 will require teachers to call students by the name and gender assigned to them at birth, regardless of their pronouns or chosen name. Senate Bill 150 would ban the teaching of any topic referring to gender or sexuality and require teachers to take down any pride-related items in their classrooms. It would also require notification to parents if a student asks to be called by specific pronouns or another name. 

While separate, House Bill 177 states that any student seeking school mental health resources has to be approved by parents before receiving help. This could prevent many students from receiving necessary mental health help due to parental interference. 

The opposition to the bills argues that the legislation could prove dangerous to students with non-supporting families, as notification to parents could cause the student to be outed and could put them in a compromising situation. They also believe these bills would infringe on student privacy and staff confidentiality.

Senate Bill 150 has passed the Senate as of February 16th; House Bill 177 has been referred to the Judiciary Committee as of February 23rd, while House Bill 173 has been moved to the Committee on Committees as of February 7th. 

This legislation has upset students and teachers alike all over Kentucky. Many feel these bills disrespect and target LGBTQ+ populations in schools, specifically transgender students/staff. Atherton High School in Louisville held a walkout on February 14th to protest the bills. Ballard High School in Louisville held a walkout on February 17th to push back against SB 150. Louisville’s J. Graham Brown school walked out on February 22nd. 

The Lafayette walkout was organized by six students, a freshman, four sophomores, and one senior.

“The legislators are writing a bill for people they don’t understand, and I think that is completely unacceptable,” stated the sophomore organizers on the legislation. 

The students will leave class at 10:45 during the second period, exit the Bus Foyer, and meet in the back bus lot. During the walkout, members of the Black Student Union, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and event organizers will speak on the bills, the walkout, and why they feel it is essential to protest this legislation. 

The Lafayette Administration has expressed support for students exercising their first amendment rights.

“This is a good exercise in applying the education we hope we have helped [students] build. This is about first amendment rights, about how we operate as citizens to let people in decision-making positions know what we want and don’t want. I think it is important for us to support and to help facilitate so it feels like something you can do, not something you have to sneak around and hide,” said Dr. Orr, principal of Lafayette, on the protests and administration help. 

Students will use the walkout to voice their opinions on the proposed legislation. The organizers have worked closely with the administration to ensure the protest occurs peacefully and safely.

Edited 2/24/23 to update where the legislative bills are in the process.