Some students at McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania, allegedly staged an “Anti-Gay Day” in response to Day of Silence, an event meant to shed light on the abuse and injustices people in the LGBT community face.
Students apparently wore flannel shirts and wrote “Anti-Gay” on their hands in protest of the event, WPXI reported. “It hurts me to see how rude and cruel, and some of these people were my friends before this started,” student Zoe Johnson said.
The students who participated in “Anti-Gay Day” reportedly bullied others. “Yesterday, there was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students’ lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down,” Johnson said.
The Day Of Silence, which is coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, was held on April 17 this year. The peaceful protest often involves participants remaining silent for the entire day to symbolize the effects of bullying, harassment and violence.
“Anti-Gay Day” was supposed to be the beginning of a weeklong event protesting people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Johnson addressed the school board about the harassment after “Anti-Gay Day.” She said, “They made an announcement this morning, saying the only colors are blue and gold, but I feel like that is not getting the point across. Just to ignore it isn't going to work.”
Dr. Erica Kolat, the superintendent of McGuffey School District, said in a statement, “Yesterday afternoon, April 16, 2015, allegations of harassment were brought to the attention of our administration. McGuffey School District, along with school police officers, continue to investigate all allegations. We will follow our Student Code of Conduct, and file legal citations, as warranted. We resolve to ensure that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination.”
Several students told WPXI that they don't feel safe going to school. “It's sad to me. It's a high school. We should feel safe here. We don't, and it's starting to get worse,” Johnson said.
According to a report from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, 56 percent of LGBT students said they felt felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. Another 38 percent of students said they felt unsafe due to their gender expression.
Image via WPXI