Wyoming school bans and unbans rainbow flags after homophobic flyers

April 25, 2019
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President Obama with Judy Shepard and the sisters of James Byrd Jr at the signing of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Photo SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

A school in Wyoming has made a U-turn on its ban on rainbow flags and LGBT+ related items.

Earlier this month homophobic and racist flyers appeared in the hallways of the school, and when a teacher reported them, she was fired.

The incident at McCormick Junior High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming saw messages distributed that read “It’s great to be straight. It’s not OK to be gay. Black lives matter only because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton.”


Wyoming homophobic flyers
Wyoming homophobic flyers (Credit: Social media)

“Join the kkk,” the posters which appeared to be signed by “the confederate kid club,” said.

According to local news reports, substitute teacher Kaycee Cook spotted the hate posters but was later fired by Principal Jeff Conine.

Cook who is co-sponsor of the school’s gay/straight alliance, contacted Wyoming Equality which works to protect LGBT+ people in the state.

“This is unacceptable,” she said in a statement to Queerty. “It does not reflect the values of Cheyenne. We’re not going tolerate this. And we’re going to show up and support our LGBT youth and our black youth with unwavering pride and support.”

The school banned rainbow flags

On Wednesday (April 24) 20-25 students were called out of class to a meeting with three faculty members who told them they could no longer post any rainbow flags, wear any rainbow clothing or anything LGBTQ-related.

According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Ashlynn Kercher, an 8th-grade member of the Gay-Straight Alliance said, “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.’”

Since then the school’s Superintendent Boyd Brown announced that he had identified at least one student believed to be responsible for creating the racist and anti-gay flyers and that Cook was likely to be reinstated at the school.

Judy and Dennis Shepard made a statement

Judy and Dennis Shepard, co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and parents of Matthew Shepard who was killed in a vile hate crime issued a statement.

“We have traveled all over the country and the world on a shoestring budget for 20 years to make sure people know that Wyoming people are good people who stand up to hatred,” it read.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Judy Shepard and Dennis Shepard speak onstage at Logo's "Trailblazer Honors" 2015 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 25, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Logo)
The Shepards have spoken out against Trump’s administration (Neilson Barnard/Getty)

“We never wanted to have to do that, but here we are. To the young Wyomingites who have been caught in the middle of this disturbing situation, we send our love and support, and our vow to be a part of the solution.”

“We’ve been so proud of the students and teachers who stepped up and let the district and the public know what is going on. And we are grateful the Superintendent has clarified that, contrary to what students were told when they were pulled from class last week, they are allowed to express themselves.”

More: bullying, Homophobia, Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard, rainbow flag, school, US, Wyoming

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