Thought getting your local high school to set up a gay-straight alliance was a difficult job? Then get a load of this Wyoming school that won’t even let a “no place for hate” sign hang on the premises.
School board members in Wheatland rejected a request this week to put back up banners for an anti-hate campaign at several of their schools. The reason: They were sponsored by a gay and lesbian organization. One Wyoming attorney says the action may be unconstitutional.
Platte County School District 1 trustees voted 4-3 to keep the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners down at Wheatland High and West Elementary. The schools were two of 25 in Colorado and Wyoming taking part in the program. One of the sponsors listed on the banner is the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Wheatland board members and parents took issue with that, according to the district. The others sponsors are Qwest and the David & Laura Merage Foundation.
Which makes sense, given what supporters of the sign are up against.
“The board thought it was inappropriate to have that sponsorship hanging up in the school,” said Stuart Nelson, the district’s superintendent. The banners, which had been allowed by district administrators, were removed after complaints. Some students asked to have them put back up, but the board refused.
Board member Lee Dunham said Wheatland is an “ultraconservative community” and that he has feelings about including the fund on the banner. He said the district isn’t ready to include that group. “If this is the way one chooses, then they can lead this particular lifestyle, but I don’t believe it needs to be publicly displayed in a school,” Dunham said.
Joe Fabian, another board member, said he believes the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage” and that the community of Wheatland is not supportive of that. “They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle,” he said.