Thousands rallied in Orlando Wednesday, demanding a quality education for students nationwide

ORLANDO, Fla. — High temperatures didn’t keep thousands of educators and their supporters, who traveled nationwide to Orlando Wednesday to protest against Governor Ron DeSantis’s new laws.


The morning event was called the “Freedom to Learn” rally during the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual convention held this year at Central Florida’s Orange County Convention Center.

As thousands stood in the scorching heat, the message that rang out many times throughout the rally was that they would continue to fight the changes in public education, especially in Florida.

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The speakers demanded politicians stop legislating education and banning books for political reasons.

Also stressed during the rally was that all students, regardless of gender, race, or ZIP code, should have access to a high-quality education that allows them to succeed."

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Governor Ron DeSantis has said certain books are inappropriate for students, while others may be trying to push a particular political agenda, so he passed a law banning books containing "pornography" or "grooming" content.

State Representative Randy Fine sponsored the law.

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“We want what’s best for the children. We want to educate the children,” said Educator Nelly Henje.

The group also called out the Parental Rights in Education Law, which "attempted to erase and dehumanize the LGBTQ+ community."

They said the decision to block AP African American Studies courses and ban books such as “The Diary of Anne Frank” from being taught in Florida schools was not a good choice.

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The rally might be over, but their efforts aren’t.

The National Education Association says they plan to bring their fight to Tallahassee, Florida, and other states where similar laws are being passed and discussed.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

Michelle Shore, WFTV.com

Michelle Shore joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2023 as a Content Creator.

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