Students of a Springfield, Missouri high school were hoping to honor the national Day of Silence, which raises awareness of the bullying that LGBTQ students face. Instead, they were confronted by other students who circled a parking lot in cars, waving a Confederate flag.
The incident, which occurred at Kickapoo High School, was confirmed in the Springfield News-Leader by Stephen Hall, chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools, who referred to the scene as “potentially dangerous,” reports the Springfield News-Leader.
Hall stated that the parking lot where the flag was displayed was packed and the incident ended without an injury or disciplinary action. The students who were displaying the flag were asked to remove them and did so and even managed to make it to class on time.
Kickapoo has seen high tensions in their school community recently in terms of LGBTQ relations. Prior to this incident, bullying had taken took place against the Gay Straight Trans Alliance (GSTA) of the school.
Flyers that were hung by the GSTA were taken off walls in front of hundreds of students and landed on an Instagram page countering the GSTA, titled “KHS Straight Pride.
“The Instagram page stated “We don’t support LGBT ideology being pushed on students. Not affiliated with KHS faculty or staff. Facts don’t care about your feelings.”
“My students were very upset. … In that moment, they didn’t feel safe at school. They felt like they didn’t have a place here,” art teacher and GSTA supporter Jess Loudis told the Springfield News-Leader.
Bill Powers, principal of Kickapoo, attempted to shut down the ripping of posters, citing a safe environment for students. Students who are apart of the GSTA have not felt safe in the school and in the video of the flyers being destroyed students can be seen clapping and cheering the action.
Those who ripped down the posters faced disciplinary actions.