Students Reportedly Organize 'Anti-Gay Day' at Pittsburgh-Area High School
A group of students in a Pittsburgh-area high school are under scrutiny for reportedly organizing an “anti-gay day” at the school last week in response to the nationally observed “Day of Silence,” which supports the LGBT community.
According to WPXI, a group of students at McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania, were encouraging people to wear flannel shirts and write “Anti-Gay” on their hands late last week.
The students apparently organized themselves just after the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance arranged for students to take part in the “Day of Silence,” a national event organized by the national Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
The national “Day of Silence” was scheduled for last Friday, but the school held its event two days earlier because of a scheduling conflict, per BuzzFeed News. Zoe Johnson, a student at McGuffey High School, told the outlet up to 50 people took part in the “Day of Silence,” choosing to wear black, paint rainbows on their faces and stay quiet for most of the day.
Some students who did not support the event reportedly took swift action in response.
“They had a very silent, respectful day of action, and then they came to school on Thursday to an organized backlash,” Kathy Cameron, chair of the board of directors of the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, told BuzzFeed News.
Their actions were characterized by some as bullying – exactly the behavior the “Day of Silence” attempted to call attention to in their protest.
“There was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students’ lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down,” Johnson told WPXI. Photos of the students proudly wearing their flannel were also spotted on social media.
Dr. Erica Kolat, the superintendent of McGuffey School District, issued a statement on Friday to the news outlet, and confirmed the allegations are being investigated.
“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,” the statement began.
“We will follow our Student Code of Conduct, and file legal citations, as warranted,” it continued. “We resolve to ensure that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination.”