A school in the US has reversed its ban on Pride paraphernalia, including rainbow flags after an outcry from parents.
McCormick Junior High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming originally banned the LGBTI Pride markers after racist and homophobic pamphlets were circulated on campus.
The flyers featured the image of a Pride flag, with the ‘no’ symbol through it. The text on the flyer read: ‘It’s great to be straight. It’s not OK to be gay’.
They also read: ‘Join the kkk’ and ‘Black lives matter only because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton’.
The school also fired a teacher who reported the flyers and students wearing t-shirts with the confederate flag.
One student told the Wyoming Eagle the school had told them not to display the rainbow flag in any way because it would be ‘distracting’. The order was given at a meeting with the student LGBTI group.
‘They told us it was a school distraction and “You don’t want to make other people feel like you felt when you saw the posters”,’ said Ashlynn Kercher.
School prinicipal, Jeff Conine, said that order had not come from him and he did not know about the meeting.
‘It didn’t come from this administration,’ he said.
Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of murdered gay man, Matthew Shephard said the incidents at McCormick Junior High School made them feel ‘heartsick’.
‘We have been heartsick for everyone at McCormick and in the Cheyenne community since we first heard that a group of students posted blatantly racist and homophobic flyers in the hallways,’ they said in a statement.
‘Instead of straightening out this problem, weeks have gone by in which the leaders in the school and the district are pointing fingers at one another, at the kids, at teachers and at community members.
‘This is only making the anxiety and frustration of African American, LGBTQ, and allied students worse. Which we know can lead to great harm. We need to do better.’
They called on the school to apologize to African American and LGBTI students.
Cheyenne scored only five points out of a possible 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The Index measures LGBTI rights in 506 cities across the United States.
HRC assesses numerous aspects of LGBTI life in the cities, such as non-discrimination policies and relationship with law enforcement. It also looks at anti-conversion therapy protections, all-gender single occupancy facilities, and city services youth bullying prevention policies.