Jack Petocz, the student who organized a statewide school walkout and protest against Florida Republicans’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill has been suspended indefinitely, reportedly for handing out pride flags, which he says school administrators confiscated.
Thousands of students in at least 20 schools across the state participated in the protest Thursday, including about 400 to 500 at Petocz’s Flagler Palm Coast High School, where he is a junior.
Petocz had worked with school administrators who initially supported his plan to hold a short walk out but Petocz says hours before the protest was to begin Flagler Palm Coast High School Principal Greg Schwarz called it off, local news outlet FlaglerLive reports. Petocz believes one school board member he has clashed with in the past, who was seen walking around the school Wednesday with Principal Schwarz may have ordered the protest to be canceled.
“Petocz was suspended after the protest because he distributed pride flags after being told not to,” FlaglerLive reports.
Petocz is taking on the administration’s actions.
“Today, I led a planned and preapproved rally at Flagler Palm Coast High School in my home state of Florida in opposition to the homophobic and discriminatory legislation being pushed by Governor DeSantis and the Florida State Legislature,” Petocz says in a statement. “Over 500 students from my school joined thousands of other concerned youth statewide to demonstrate their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to protest. Students waved pride flags and stood together, showing the politicians peddling bigotry that we will not be silenced. We made our plea to those actively targeting us, the same people who pledged to protect and empower all Floridians.”
“Although the school administration had initially approved the rally and expressed support for students’ civil liberties, their demeanor and tone drastically shifted as the rally progressed. Administrators began confiscating pride flags and attempted to remove them from campus. As the leader of the rally and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I encouraged my fellow students not to give in to the school’s unconstitutional seizure of our pride flags, but instead to continue demonstrating our pride in a peaceful manner,” Petocz says.
“After the rally, I was informed that I had been indefinitely suspended. School administrators allowed me to collect my things and then escorted me off-campus.”
“I am proud of who I am and I am proud of all of those protesting these regressive bills. We must let our politicians know that no matter how hard they try, they cannot suppress our identities or silence our voices. Gen-Z will not stand idly by as our rights are stripped from us. It is now up to you to decide which side of history you will be on, the side that empowers us or the side that seeks to erase us.”
Florida’s first LGBTQ Latino state lawmaker weighed in:
#DontSayGay has not even passed the Florida Senate and students are being suspended indefinitely for handing out pride flags in protest of the bill. 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ #DeSantis has truly turned Florida into an anti-gay hellhole. 😡 https://t.co/j7MDkElxgo
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 3, 2022
In a disturbing revelation school board attorney Kristry Gavin reportedly told FlaglerLive, “I’m sorry he believes … he should be permitted to have the gay pride flag, the rainbow flag or whatever, but when it carries a connotation of political a statement, it’s no longer [permissible.]”
There is a Change.org petition to have Petocz’s suspension rescinded. It has received over 1700 signatures in just hours.
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Trump Hinted Jan. 6 Would Be His ‘Last-Ditch’ Attempt to Overturn the Election Results: Filmmaker Alex Holder
In an interview with the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, a British documentary maker who was filming behind-the-scenes footage in Donald Trump’s White House on Jan 6th claimed he knew something bad was about to happen before supporters of the former president stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
Alex Holder, whose film crew was on hand and filming Trump and his children Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka on Jan 6th, stated there was a feeling among his people that something momentous was about to happen.
According to Lowell, “Holder was there for it all: three sit-down interviews with Trump, including one at the White House, numerous other interviews with Trump’s adult children, private conversations among top aides and advisers before the election, and around the Capitol itself as it got stormed.” adding, “The access to Trump, and listening to him and his inner circle, led him to suspect that the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election would somehow culminate in some event at the Capitol on 6 January.”
Asked about what his feeling was prior to the riot that engulfed the Capitol building, Holder explained, “I wasn’t 100% sure, but it was sort of a feeling, so we prepared for that thing to happen. The reason we thought January 6 was because, in Trump’s mind, the last-ditch effort was to stop the process” of the vote certification by Congress.
He elaborated, “That ceremonial process that takes place in Congress on January 6, he felt, was the last time where he could, in his mind, stop the election going to the wrong person, as it were. The rhetoric that was coming out was that the election was rigged, [that] we need to fight.”
According to the Guardian report, Holder has, “testified for about four hours behind closed doors last week about his roughly 100 hours of footage, used for an upcoming documentary titled Unprecedented, and turned over to House investigators the parts demanded in a subpoena compelling his cooperation.”
Lowell added, “Holder said he additionally did a one-to-one interview with then-vice president Mike Pence, including a scene where Pence briefly reviews an email about the 25th amendment – which concerns the removal of a US president – which was privately discussed among senior White House officials in the wake of the Capitol attack.”
You can read more here.
Meadows Allegedly Behind Possible Attempt at Witness Intimidation of Cassidy Hutchinson: Reports
Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, may be the victim of attempted witness intimidation, and the person who may have attempted to intimidate her may be her former boss.
The Guardian on Friday reports “Hutchinson received at least one message tacitly warning her not to cooperate with the House January 6 select committee from an associate of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.”
That message, according to both CNN and The Guardian, was delivered at the direction of Mark Meadows, according to sources both news outlets cite.
One of the messages that the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack posted at the end of Hutchinson’s testimony read: “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”
According to The Guardian, “The redaction was ‘Meadows,’ the sources said.”
CNN similarly reports: “One of [the] people who may have been trying to influence Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony did so at the behest of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to multiple sources familiar with information gathered by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection.”
Citing multiple sources CNN reports “the ‘person’ referred to in the message, which was redacted in the version projected on a screen during the hearing, was Meadows.”
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi Friday afternoon on MSNBC said there is “no question” that message constitutes “an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” he stressed.
“When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation,” Figliuzzi added.
Thursday on Twitter Figliuzzi wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”
Secret Service Agents Confirm Details Hutchinson Shared About Trump Demanding to Be Taken to US Capitol Jan. 6
Secret Service agents are coming forward to say for months after the January 6 insurrection they heard stories very similar to the account former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she was told by a Trump loyalist and White House aide. The right-wing pro-Trump propaganda machine latched on to parts of her story in which she said she was told the outgoing president lunged at an agent, and “grabbed at” the steering wheel of the presidential limo, which on January 6 was an SUV.
Trump “angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way,” CNN reports, citing “two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.”
That directly supports Hutchinson’s remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in her surprise bombshell testimony Tuesday. “The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident,” CNN adds, “in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.”
CNN also reports that “one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as ‘demanding’ and that the former President said something similar to: ‘I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.’ The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.”
Hutchinson had told the Committee a Trump aide, Anthony Ornato, had told her Trump got into the presidential limo, which was not “The Beast,” as right-wing propagandists are claiming, but an SUV, and said: “I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!”
That closely echoes what agents told CNN.
“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson also told the Committee, citing Ornato as her source. “Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’”
“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson then added. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”
Watch CNN’s report from Friday below or at this link:
Sources say he “lunged toward the steering wheel in an effort to try and get the detail to take him to capitol hill” pic.twitter.com/QKI8ByLomV
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 1, 2022
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