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Discrimination Nation

by Kevin Saez
Editorial Cartoon by Christian Ruiz

Editorial Cartoon by Christian Ruiz

High school was not a pleasant time. It was filled with terrible fashion choices, hateful comments from classmates and awkward moments of self-discovery. Although everyone believes their high school experience was worst than the next guy, it is the McGuffey High School students who have truly had the worst high school experience.
On April 15, McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pa., was a safe and supportive educational institution. The school’s Gay-Straight Alliance organized a “Day of Silence,” a day which brings much needed attention to the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Since high school is a rough time, especially for LGBTQ students, the Day of Silence provides an opportunity for them to stand in solidarity. It is a day of support and love for all those who struggle in high school.
Overnight, McGuffey High School transformed from a supportive community into a place of harassment and hate when as many as 100 students participated in an anti-gay day in response to the Day of Silence.”Students who took part in the event wore flannel shirts and wrote “anti-gay” on the palms of their hands.
As if their response to the Day of Silence was not offensive enough, they slapped biblical verses on the lockers of members of the LGBTQ community as well as their supporters.
Unfortunately, that was not all that occurred. Some of the students even got into physical altercations and participants in the anti-gay day had allegedly created a lynch list.
National news media quickly took an interest in the events that occurred at the McGuffey High School for the obvious reason; it was repulsive. The school’s superintendent, Erica Kolat, said that the school “ensure[s] that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination.”
Yet, that is not what occurred on April 16 at McGuffey High School. Students at the high school did not feel like they could grow. They did not feel like they could learn. They did not feel safe. They did not feel supported.
Students were discriminated against. They were personally targeted for either supporting or being part of the LGBTQ community. The anti-gay day was a planned attack on the LGBTQ community and its supporters that should never have occurred.
Although students need to be able to share their ideas and beliefs with the rest of the student body, it should have never have been done in this manner. The Day of Silence was a peaceful event and did not force itself onto people who did not agree with it.
The event focused on promoting an understanding among students. The anti-gay day was forced onto students who did not wish to engage in an event where Bible verses were placed on people’s lockers. Also, students were harassed and bullied by the message of the event. This anti-gay day advocated an agenda of hate toward those who make up the LGBTQ community. Instead of encouraging the school to be a safe space for all, students were physically beaten due to their beliefs.
Students not only deserve to be in school where they feel they can grow and learn in a supportive environment without discrimination, but they must be in a school that provides such an environment.
High school is a hard enough time for teens. They need to be in an atmosphere that lets them be who they are.

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