Students Wear "Straight Pride" Posters To Protest Tennessee School's Gay-Straight Alliance
Some students at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee weren't reprimanded for wearing "straight pride" signs around school last week, apparently in a show of disapproval for the school's new Gay-Straight Alliance.
A group of parents and community members recently launched a Facebook group calling for an immediate end to the after-school organization, arguing that it would promote "alternative lifestyles" and indoctrinate students to align with anti-Christian beliefs.
"The FCHS GSA will foster a safe environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students and their allies," the school's website states. "The FCHS GSA will offer a space where LGBT students and their allies can speak freely and honestly with their peers about issues specific to LGBT students without fear of rejection or harassment."
Signs posted around the school alerting students to club meetings were defaced and vandalized with homophobic slurs.
At least one parent, John Wimley, expressed his frustration over the group in a slew of Facebook posts likening the club to one that recruits kids to join ISIS.
"OK F.C. [Franklin County] if we do not ban together and stop this B.S. the next thing you know they will have a F.I.M.A. (Future ISIS Members of America) #PutGodInSchoolsPlease," he recently wrote in all caps.
"I don't understand it. I don’t understand where they're coming from, and I want answers. Everybody wants answers," he said in an interview with WBRC. "I don't believe there should be religion or sexual preference taught in any school."
Responding to concerns from the community, Superintendent Amie Lonas maintained that the club would not disband. "It is not a recruitment tool or trying to promote an alternate lifestyle,” she said. “It's more about tolerance and trying to treat people equally and with respect." She added that the school has several Christian-based clubs and even hosts a regular Bible study group.
On Saturday, a student posted a photo of the "straight pride" sign worn by students to a Facebook page supporting the GSA.
"After being asked to remove them from the walls, students were wearing these signs today and hovering around LGBT," they wrote. "However, my lunch table watched Mr. Mantooth ask a student to remove the sign and then blatantly ignore the fact that the student did not. Nobody was punished. Nobody was asked again to take off the signs. So much for the 'zero-tolerance' school."