As students at a Missouri high school planned to mark the national Day of Silence to highlight bullying and the erasure of LGBTQ people at school, a few students circled the parking lot displaying American flags as well as one Confederate flag in a possible counter-protest.
Before the start of the school day on Friday at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, “three of four” students waved the flags, the Springfield News-Leader reported. The action was reported to the school’s administrators, who were on alert.
In the week leading up to the event, posters created by the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSTA) to raise awareness and announce activities were torn down by other students. The first incident was captured on video and shared on an Instagram page, KHS Straight Pride, but has since been deleted. The page, which is run anonymously, claims, "We don’t support lgbt ideology being pushed on students. Not affiliated with KHS faculty or staff. Facts don’t care about your feelings."
According to Springfield News-Leader, the student who ripped the poster off the wall was met with applause and laughter from a dozen students in the video, of the nearly 600-student crowd. When a sign was ripped down a second time, the outlet reported no one cheered.
Kickapoo Principal Bill Powers told the News-Leader that the incidents, including the poster tear-downs, were considered bullying and has since met with the students involved in the GSTA and emailed students and parents. Hours after the initial incident, he addressed the school on the intercom, saying in part, "Disrespect of any student in our school will not be tolerated. Here at Kickapoo and across SPS, we are committed to a learning environment that makes all of our students feel safe, secure and respected for who they are."
According to Kickapoo counselor, Amy Moran, the school's "equity champion," the incident involving the posters was disappointing. However, she told Springfield News-Leader that students had rushed to help the GSTA, and worked together to create new banners that were bigger and brighter than the original ones torn down.
The district confirmed that the students caught ripping down the posters were disciplined.
As for the students driving in the school's parking lot displaying American flags and Confederate flag, they were met by Kickapoo administrators. "Because it was considered potentially dangerous, the administrators directly went to handle it," Stephen Hall, chief communication officer for Springfield Public Schools told the News-Leader. The students involved complied in removing the flags and parking their vehicles.
Hall told the outlet, "We feel like it's been handled and dealt with."
Stephen Hall and Principal Bill Powers did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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