In an effort to combat the positive message of the “Day of Silence,” an annual event that aims to give students “the power to bring attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT language and bullying and the need to make our schools safe and affirming for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression,” students at one Pennsylvania high school organized for hate instead.
WPXI reports that some McGuffey High School teens used social media to organize “Anti-Gay Day,” to counterbalance the message of acceptance and love. The group of students encouraged others to wear flannel if they are “anti-gay,” and to write “Anti-Gay” on their hands.
“It hurts me to see how rude and cruel, and some of these people were my friends before this started,” Zoe Johnson, a student at McGuffey High School, told WPXI. “Yesterday, there was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students’ lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down.”
According to WPXI, participating students passed around a “lynch list,” which is presumably a list of LGBT students.
Johnson spoke out about the hateful display on Facebook. “This is why so many students hate going to school.” She also spoke out at Thursday night’s school board meeting, saying that administrators need to do something,” she wrote. “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.”
Johnson may be correct that the school — and even the school district — is taking a weak stance on bullying and discrimination. In a statement on behalf of the McGuffey School District, superintendent Dr. Erica Kolat explained:
“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.”
Some students told WPXI that they are afraid to go to school as a result of the hate parade. “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,”one student told the station.
A former student at the school told Addicting Info that some alumni are organizing a peaceful counter-protest outside the school on Monday or Tuesday. “[We] just want people to know that we won’t tolerate this hate in our community,” she said.
According to WPXI, the homophobic students have “an entire week’s worth” of attire for “anti-gay day,” which apparently lasts more than a week.
Watch a report on this horrific bullying, below: