Archive for Monday, September 18, 2017

Discriminatory text messages spur student sit-in over LGBT rights at Lawrence High

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18 in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. The school's administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment from a Journal-World reporter and would not allow the reporter into the rotunda where the protest was occurring. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18 in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. The school's administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment from a Journal-World reporter and would not allow the reporter into the rotunda where the protest was occurring. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

September 18, 2017, 2:33 p.m. Updated September 18, 2017, 4:44 p.m.

Advertisement

A group of students skipped classes and staged a sit-in at Lawrence High Monday to protest what they describe as a pervasive culture of discrimination against LGBT students, particularly transgender individuals, at their school.

The sit-in started with about 45 students on Monday morning but had grown to an estimated 70 protesters as of lunchtime as students began to join the event in the school’s rotunda. An organizer of the event said students talked with LHS Assistant Principal Mark Pruet and notified the administration that they did not intend to leave the rotunda until at least some of their demands had been met.

“We talked to Mr. Pruet for probably about five minutes, and then we, as a group, sat down in solidarity and said, ‘We are not going to move until action is taken,’” said Elliot Bradley, an LHS sophomore who is a main organizer behind the protest. “And that’s what we intend to do.”

District spokeswoman Julie Boyle later told the Journal-World that protesters had disbanded by the end of the school day, but she did not say if a consensus had been reached between students and administrators.

Bradley said he and fellow members of the school’s Total Equality Alliance organized the protest. He said the sit-in was spurred by long-standing issues at LHS that recently came to a head after several students, some of them LHS football players, made offensive comments in a group text conversation (via the app GroupMe) last week.

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18 in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. The school's administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment from a Journal-World reporter and would not allow the reporter into the rotunda where the protest was occurring. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18 in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. The school's administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment from a Journal-World reporter and would not allow the reporter into the rotunda where the protest was occurring. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

More than 200 students were looped into the text conversation, Bradley said, which included comments likening transgender identities to mental disorders, among other things. In the conversation, one student asked, “if a (slur for transgender person) hits you is it still hitting a woman or no?” Another person insisted that the name on a person’s birth certificate determines gender once and for all, regardless of the person’s actual gender identity.

Bradley said the text messages were sent out initially on Wednesday. On Friday, he said, the football players involved in the conversation were still allowed to play in that evening’s game against Lee’s Summit West. To him, the incident sends a message that “LHS is valuing their players over their minority students.”

“It wasn’t really a shock to us, but it was alarming,” Bradley, who serves as events coordinator of his school’s TEA club, said of the messages. “It was really difficult for us to handle, knowing that these are people who represent our school.”

The lack of response Bradley said he saw from LHS staff motivated the Total Equality Alliance to stage a walk-out after first period Monday morning, he said. About 45 students met Monday outside the school’s front entrance, proceeding around 10 a.m. to the main office.

There, Bradley said, students met Assistant Principal Pruet.

In a list of demands submitted to LHS administration, protesters called for those “who participated in harassing transgender students” to be held accountable, including the suspension of student athletes due to “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Bradley pointed to the school’s “Philosophy for the Student Athlete,” which states that participation in school sports is a “privilege, not a right,” and reminds student athletes that “they represent not only the team,” but also parents, coaches, administration and the entire LHS student body, as well as the district and Lawrence community as a whole.

“With that in mind, the student-athlete must realize all actions on and off the field is a direct reflection of the entire school community,” the philosophy says. “You will be looked upon as a role model.”

The protesters’ list of demands also asks that these students write an apology to those who were harassed, and also asks for “public recognition that the main group responsible” were student athletes.

Aside from disciplinary matters, the demands also call for new administration at the school dedicated to handling discrimination issues, as well as a new panel comprising five teachers and two students to serve as “decision-makers on punishments for any future incidents of discrimination and as support for all students.”

Bradley told the Journal-World he didn’t expect all these demands to be met. He and other LGBT students, he said, just wanted to feel their concerns were being adequately heard.

Raven Andersen-Rolland, an LHS senior who joined the protests Monday, said the issues being discussed weren’t new to her school. Last year, she alleged, a handful of students attacked her and her girlfriend with anti-gay slurs during an assembly. Andersen-Rolland also said the students kicked her and her girlfriend before she reported the incident to LHS administration.

“I found out later that the boys were on the baseball team and they were not given a detention,” Andersen-Rolland said. “They continued to talk about us in the halls. They weren’t suspended from any games. Nothing was taken away.”

Referring to the protesters, Bradley said he was encouraged to see the level of engagement by his peers.

With each passing period, he said, more and more kids sat down in solidarity. Bradley said the protesters had pledged not to leave until “action is taken,” adding that even if just one or two demands were met, he would be satisfied.

He said he and fellow protesters simply wanted to make Lawrence High a “safe space” for all students, current and future.

“I don’t think any freshman or (prospective students) coming into this school should be scared to come to high school,” Andersen-Rolland agreed.

Andersen-Rolland later said some of the group’s demands had been met, with the protesters disbanding around 3 p.m. Monday. She wasn’t sure which demands had specifically been met, however, and noted that the administration said some of the actions suggested by protesters could not be immediately taken.

An administrator at LHS declined to answer questions from a Journal-World reporter on Monday. The administrator also refused to allow the reporter into the rotunda area of LHS where the sit-in was taking place. The administrator referred questions to the district’s director of communications, Julie Boyle, who responded around 2:45 p.m. with a statement nearly identical to the message she sent to LHS parents a few minutes before.

“Lawrence High School’s administration has been meeting with students who staged a peaceful protest in the school rotunda today. The students’ concerns stemmed from feeling disrespected by comments other students made in an online chat room last week,” Boyle said in an email. “Lawrence High is committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. When the facts about these issues are gathered, the administration will take action as is appropriate in accordance with Board Policy and the Student Handbook.”

The message to parents did not divulge what, exactly, students were protesting or why some felt “disrespected” by the group text message that spurred the protest. Boyle also told parents that “at no time today were threats made against student safety as a result of the sit-in.”

Comments

Richard Aronoff 2 months ago

The First Amendment guarantees these football players freedom of speech. But it does not guarantee them (or anyone else) protection from the consequences of their speech.

Benching them for the remainder of the season would be a good start.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Why bench them for their views on transgender? As long as they were not advocating violence, hate, or harassment, why aren't they entitled to their views?

Not everyone has to think the same way. I wonder how many sitting in have said something negative or offensive about a Trump supporter? Should they be punished?

Should schools have disciplined the Phelps children out no;ding anti-gay signs? Where does it end?

Free speech means protecting all speech even speech we find offensive.

And for the record I harbor no animosity for transgendered people, or people based on their sexual orientation. I believe in live and let live, support the right of others to condemn views with which they disagree, but do not believe in censorship of speech.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

So you are pro bullying? Did you read the article? Here. is this okay with you (see quote from article below"? I sure hope you don't have children. If someone doesn't like having to park further away from a store because of handicap parking, is it okay to kick disabled people and make fun of them? Is it okay to harass and bully Black people, because you have a 1st amendment right to think that whites are superior? I don't like that sports take second place to academics in many schools. Should I call jocks stupid and kick them? Why is it any of their business what someone else does? Let them not like it, if they want, but what gives them a right to bully? Maybe they should have some manners. Oops I forgot you conservatives don't like questions. My bad.

"Raven Andersen-Rolland, an LHS senior who joined the protests Monday, said the issues being discussed aren’t new to her school. Last year, she alleged, a handful of students attacked her and her girlfriend with anti-gay slurs during an assembly. Andersen-Rolland also said the students kicked her and her girlfriend before she reported the incident to LHS administration."

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Reading comprehension Dot. Embrace it, it is your friend. I stated I am against speech that advocates hate, hrrassment or violence. The incident to which you refer falls under harassment, hate and violence which I condemn, but it is a separate incident.

Blinded by hate is a terrible thing.

Calvin Anders 2 months ago

Well, it appears a group has finally had enough of LHS sports teams pervasive entitlement. A group of students have decided they are not going to let the administration continue to look the other way. I applaud the bravery of these students. I hope LJW continues to cover this story and does not allow the good old boy network to sweep this under the rug. The lack of action by administrators to address this issue is shameful.

Steve Johnson 2 months ago

Another snowflake, go join your leftwing extremists for a dance lesson

Amelia Anne Baranet 2 months ago

Who's the one terrified of open LGBT people? Right, so who's the snowflake again?

Dustyn Polk 2 months ago

What bravery? Like there is any chance at all that these students will face any sort of punishment over skipping class. Taking an action when there is zero chance of danger isn't the definition of bravery. You might want to try looking that word up sometime in the near future.

Bob Forer 2 months ago

Well at least it is easy to spot the bigots.

Josh Berg 2 months ago

Just like every liberal, Bob ran out of good talking points so he resorts to name calling

Calvin Anders 2 months ago

These kids directly challenged the authority of their school administration. Had they not been able to reach critical mass in number of participants and had they not been fighting a cause which the administration was obviously on the wrong side of, there would have been consequense. It may have become obvious as the day went on that these students had some traction and we're unlikely to be punished, but initiating such action took courage and conviction.

Christine Anderson 2 months ago

If a kid skipped class to sit-in, and were I the parent of one of them, I would respectfully call the school and say " Mark them unexcused absence if you must, but I as their parent not only excuse but am crying tears of pride"

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Good for them. And where are these players' parents? Didn't they teach them any manners? Why are they hitting anyone anyway? Why is it up to the school to teach manners to these jerks. Parents, you may have visions of your kid going pro and getting rich and supporting you, but you better teach them how to behave first.

Bob Forer 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Forer 2 months ago

The allegations of Ms. Andersen-Rolland are especially disturbing.

Marcia Epstein 2 months ago

Based on research by Rylan Testa, PhD, professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, we know that emotional abuse, such as the bullying in the text referenced in the article is a leading cause of suicide attempts in trans and gender nonconforming youth.

I'm proud of the students who "stood up" through this "sit in." We must not stand by when people are being victimized emotionally and/or physically. We must find a safe way to get help for the one(s) being victimized.

from Rylan Testa, PhD

from Rylan Testa, PhD by Marcia Epstein

Brock Masters 2 months ago

When does speech become bullying? When does offensive speech become a crime or punishable by the school?

I agree that we must protect all people from bullying,especially the most vulnerable but where is the line between bullying speech and speech you find offensive?

Was Clinton bullying when she called Trump supporters deplorable? Is one frequent poster bullying when he calls Trump supporters nazis? How about the transgender model when she called all white people racist?

People have no right to bully you but they do have the right to offend you. If not, then we need to censor a lot of people.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Did you read the article? Do you consider this free speech? Can people just go around saying nasty things to each other? How long would you have a job if you verbally harassed someone every day? They even put up with until the little jerks got physical. Why weren't they punished? Because they could hit a ball with a stick of wood?

Raven Andersen-Rolland, an LHS senior who joined the protests Monday, said the issues being discussed weren’t new to her school. Last year, she alleged, a handful of students attacked her and her girlfriend with anti-gay slurs during an assembly. Andersen-Rolland also said the students kicked her and her girlfriend before she reported the incident to LHS administration.

“I found out later that the boys were on the baseball team and they were not given a detention,” Andersen-Rolland said. “They continued to talk about us in the halls. They weren’t suspended from any games. Nothing was taken away.”

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Yes, I do consider it free speech. They didn't send it to a transgender and people have the right to say stupid and offensive stuff.

You keep mixing two incidents. One clearly wrong - an attack is always wrong and should be criminally punished. You frequently post nasty stuff - are you guilty of bullying? Are the people who call me a racist or a nazi or deplorable guilty of bullying?

Evan Taylor 2 months ago

"They didn't send it to a transgender..."

How do you know that, Brock? The article clearly states that there were 200+ students included in that particular GroupMe chat, odds are the LGBTQ+ demographic was represented in some capacity.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

The initial report was it was a text message between football players. Now it says group text similar to a private chat room. Regardless, a person can challenge and question transgenderism. And yes, they can be insensitive in their remarks. Should they? Of course not, but where do you draw the line?

I bet you can find offensive posts about conservatives and Trump supporters made by those protesting. Should they be disciplined too?

As long as it was nt done with school equipment then it isn't a school issue. If it does then the school is going to open a can of worms because most young people post offensive material these days.

David J. Brown 2 months ago

I stand in support of the students protesting at Lawrence High.

David Holroyd 2 months ago

When classes are over and if there are no events planned in the building tonite the Admistration should ask the students to leave. If they don't , they are tresspassing!

That is a taxpayer funded faciltilty and thus so, to allow a small group to stay in a building overnight is a LIABILITY waiting to happen.

If the School Interim Superintendent allows them to stay indefintely and the school board as well. speaks poorly of them. Lock the building.

They can come back in the morning and sit in. And miss class and grades are a part of attendance of class as well.

Not very bright.!

Peaty Romano 2 months ago

So, that's your takeaway from all this? SMH

Bob Forer 2 months ago

You basically have to expect those type of replies from mr. Holroyd. Par for the course.

Christine Anderson 2 months ago

My thoughts exactly. Mr. Holyroyd, the protest disbanded at 1500. School lets out at 1510. I applaud each and every student who took part in the protest/sit-in. Also, many of the students there are honor students and rather bright. In fact, I postulate that each and every one of them is- for having the courage to stand up for what they believe!

Zoe Fincher 2 months ago

LGBTQ kids are at school to learn, just like everybody else. If they can't feel safe and supported by their students and staff, how are they supposed to do that? So incredibly proud of these lions. I really hope LHS admin does something about this. -class of 2013 alumna

Josh Berg 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Richard Aronoff 2 months ago

I believe the school is permitted to establish rules of conduct. The football team represents the school. If the school wishes to send a message that the texts do not represent the attitude of the school of its students, benching the players would be appropriate.

Bob Forer 2 months ago

Whats the matter, snowflake. Are you a little butthurt because your comment was removed.

Awwwww......

Russell Fryberger 2 months ago

Who's discriminating these folks? There are people who hate the "alternative" lifestyle but who is discriminating against gay people? No rights are lost. It's just a fire that will never be put out because a large portion of people do not believe in homosexuality. But where is the discrimination. I commend this group for being peaceful but I'd write them up for cutting class.

And stop making issues where there are no issues!!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

So kicking someone is okay with you? Bullying is okay with you? You must have been one of those jerks when you were in school.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Congenital clairvoyant bullying is okay tho.

You must have been one of those jerks when you were in school.

Pot meet kettle.

Amelia Anne Baranet 2 months ago

The school is effectively discriminating against them if they aren't protecting them and providing a safe, stable environment for them to learn in. They're being cheated of the equal opportunity for an education.

Hate only remains and things only stay the same when people have defeatist attitudes like yours. These kids are on the right side of history.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

A group of students skipped classes and staged a sit-in

Is it any wonder why so called "education" in government inculcation centers cannot afford their children the ability to break the worldwide top twenty in math, science, and reading proficiencies?

A select few have emotional hypersensitivities that railroads their ability to concentrate.

Why aren't the union schoolmarms using strict disciplinary metrics to get a hold of this melee?

Because they are union and not schoolmarms. Union schoolmarm is an oxymoron. My bad.

J.d. Grammer 2 months ago

"Man my use of big words will show them"

Brian Dennison 2 months ago

Alot of people jabbering and judging who have never seen the texts. You have no idea what was said yet all have opinions. About 70 students protested, meaning about 1400 were disrupted today. This was a senior text so at most about 10 football players COULD have been involved. Yet all football players are to blame? Wake up,use your head and shut your mouth until the whole story is told not just the writing of one journalist that put something together in about 2 hrs.

Dustyn Polk 2 months ago

I always thought school, particularly high school, was a place of education, not social activism. Guess I'm just old fashioned.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

It's not a place to be harassed and bullied. Tell the truth. Were you one of the bullies in high school? Did you make fun of people who were different. Did you do bad things to nerds?

And what if these people hadn't used social activism in high school? Which one would you have supported in this picture? The social activist, or the girls bullying her?

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/central-high-school-integration

Nathan Anderson 2 months ago

I'm still waiting for the part that's discriminatory and harassing. How someone can harass and discriminate without interaction is a head scratcher. The examples given were from a private group chat as the article describes it. Do the students really want the admin policing speech to this degree, scanning all social media accounts for wrongthink? Does the admin have the legal right to police speech to this degree? If the examples from the article are the worst of it, I doubt it.

David Holroyd 2 months ago

Would the taxpayers of USD 497 be allowed to go to a school and have a "sit in" all night ?

Just asking.

If so, could they have pizza delivered and make an event out of it?

I remember the sit ins at Wescoe. I went up there, thought it would be fun until the word got out that there were buses in front of Strong Hall...to take folks to jail. I and some others got up took the back stairs out of the building.

We knew the way to San Jose but it was not on the bus route to the jail.

So, the students went home for the day? Guess to recharge their phones and get some food and a few parents probably had a talk with them.

You see, they were disrespectful of the teachers who arrived at their classes. Dorothy speaks about the parents of football players..but she fails to mention the parent of the protestors ,maybe they should instill some respect in their children for the teachers who came to teach.

Probably, the protestors couldn't get much from a class anyway...so best they did make the classes smaller for those who wanted to be in class.

Dustyn Polk, you are not old fashioned! The schoolmarms are afraid of the students as well as are the parents, and the USD Admiinistration.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

The usual haters have shown up here, along with some new ones. And they defend their fellow haters right to hate and harass and bully. But if one of the so called snowflakes decides they have had enough and turns them in, then all the haters start whining like little babies. Boo hoo. I have a right to hate people and bully them. So now a large group of students are standing up against them, and boy are they scared.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Dot, you're bullying with your name calling.

Plus as usual you're making stuff up. Name the poster that said They have a right to bully people? Come on, name them and link to where they said it otherwise, you're just lying.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Why do you think I was talking about you?

Brock Masters 2 months ago

I didn't think you were talking bout me. I was just pointing out your hypocrisy of opposing bullying by bullying and for stating false accusations. Not one person on here said bullying is a right.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Bullying is harassing someone for being different and making them feel like they are being watched and implying harm may come to them, like a few of the posters have done on this forum. If you are gay and I call you a homosexual, I am stating a fact, not calling you a name. If someone continually defend groups who hate, then, I can only assume they must be haters as well. I don't know where they live. I don't plan on doing them harm. I wouldn't even punch a Nazi, no matter how tempting it would be.

Bob Forer 2 months ago

You got that right. Apparently justin got a little butthurt because he was referred to as a bigot.

Amelia Anne Baranet 2 months ago

Yep. We know who the REAL snowflakes are, Dorothy.

Kathleen Christian 2 months ago

Growing up I don't think I didn't know a kid in school that wasn't bullied at one time or another either by a classmate, neighbors kid or their own sibling and we all survived it and actually grew up to became stronger in the process. I grew up with the saying, "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Talk to the hand. Until you walk in another person's shoes, no one has an intelligent bases to have an opinion of another, but if they do and say it out loud. As Jesus would say, "Turn the other cheek." I say Snap out of it, you'll get over it. It's just words. How all this over baby pampering started I'll never know, but it is making whiney, whimpy kids out of our younger generation. How are these kids going to survive in the real world, in the military, in combat, without crying and complaining that someone said something mean to them? Kids are going to be mean to each other, no matter what generation we are in. Everyone has an opinion and no one can stifle that in every human being on this earth. Unless there is a Marshall Law, God forbide. Physical violence is a different issue. I do not think the athlete should be benched for the season, or suspended from school. Perhaps a detention and a warning to keep his opinions to himself to keep the peace. And that's all I have to say about this.....

Bob Forer 2 months ago

Contrary to your suggestions, not everyone handles bullying the same way. For some, there are scars.

In all due respect, sometimes it cannot be easily dismissed

Amelia Anne Baranet 2 months ago

Except not all "survived it", Kathleen. If you don't know anyone who has lost a child to suicide, count your blessings.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

My suggestion to all of these kids is to stand up for yourselves. I don't mean getting violent. Keep your phones handy and ready to record. If someone threatens you, document it. If the school won't do anything about it, call the police. Someone who is threatening you is committing assault. And if they do try and kick you or they do kick you, that's battery. Let's see what kind of sports scholarship they will get with a record.

Paul Silkiner 2 months ago

When will the parents act as adults and let the children, yes....even at 18, you are still children, learn to be adults? I know so many extreme liberal parents whom give their children too little direction and wonder why they are pregnant, doing drugs, selling drugs or piercing their genitals? I know one family who makes their living as social workers and they don't know or care that their kids are on drugs while I know where they party when the Kaw is low!

Bob Forer 2 months ago

Genital piercing?????????

So you know this for a fact, as well as where those kids party on the Kaw.

My, my you are one talented detective.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Paul, liberal parents? Really? Do you want me to start naming all the bad conservative parents? Which would you rather have. A daughter like Chelsea Clinton, educated, happily married, waited to have children after she was married and financially able to care for a child. Or Palin's daughter and son. A daughter who has two out of wedlock children by 2 different fathers and was only able to support her kids, because she cashed in on her mother's celebrity? And a son who likes to hit the women? Bad parenting has nothing to do with political beliefs.

Kathleen M Isabell 2 months ago

The school's public response to this incident is pathetic, a sop to Cerberus. Because the offending student-bigots are also student-athletes, it is to be expected that nothing meaningful will happen to them. What should happen is that each athlete who posted an offensive comment should be suspended from all sports participation for the remainder of the school year. All other students who posted offensive comments should be barred from participation in any school activities for the same length of time. All students who posted offensive comments should be given community service related to LGBTQ homelessness, human trafficking, and those living with HIV, since those are all risk groups for youth growing up LGBTQ. The school can do this; many high schools have students complete community service as part of graduation credit -- and it should be required of these student-bigots in order to graduate. Only swift and severe sanctions on hateful speech can drive home the message that speech matters; speech hurts people; hateful speech leads to hateful actions and violence. Clearly it already has: student baseball players harassed, attacked and kicked another student and her girlfriend and nothing was done about it.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Help me understand your point of view. You're suggesting the school has the authority to discipline students for their comments mqde in a private chat room?

I agree if they commit a crime they should be punished, but you seem to be going beyond that and wanting them punished for what you deem offensive comments.

If this is true do believe that students who post anything on social media that "attacks" or offends another person should be punished by the school?

For instance, if a person uses the term libtard or tea bagger, both offensive terms used to disparage and bully people the school should punish them? How about if a person labels another person a nazi because of their conservative beliefs? Punish them too?

If not, then why not? The person is attacking another person using an offensive term and is bullying them by labeling them a nazi.

Here is the issue with free speech. You must protect all speech, even speech you find offensive or your right to free speech is threatened too.

Again, punish anything that is a crime, but free speech is essential to the people and all speech that doesn't fall into the realm of criminal must be protected.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Again, did you read the whole article. The one little post went out to 200 students, but that's not the issue. There has been systematic harassment in school hallways, that has gone unpunishment. This post was just the straw. You still haven't addressed the incident that Ms. Andersen-Rolland was talking about. Why weren't these boys punished? This happened in school. Do you think they shouldn't be punished?

And schools have been sued for not protecting students from cyber bullying. Parents of bullies do not often take control of the situation. What do you suggest? A student who is afraid to come to school the next day, because they were threatened by a bully the night before on social media is still being threatened and still having their right to an education taken away.

For the most part these kids who hate gays aren't forced to have much of a relationship with gays. Sure they have to be in class together, but they don't have to talk to each other in the halls. They don't have to hang out after school. Why do they feel the need to harass and talk down to gay students. Gay students aren't demanding that straight students become gay. They don't make rude remarks about who straight students choose to love. Why don't the bullies start minding their own business.

Also, the students coming together in a group like this makes them less isolated. They know they have support to stand up emotionally against the harassment, so they have support instead of feelings of despair that can lead to suicide.

And would you like to show me how many kids are being harassed and feeling threatened by being called a Nazi or libtard? Is there talk about hitting a Nazi. Sure there have been lots of jokes around about punching Nazis, since Spencer got punched. But is this really going on in school. In the story above, the first person who used the slur and talked about hitting, should have been punished. Maybe not the guy who is against trans. He didn't seem to make a threat, just stated his opinion, as long as he didn't carry out any harassment at school. Students need to be reminded to walk down the halls and only talk to their friends. Leave everyone else alone.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

No Dot, it didn't go out to 200 people, 200 people who joined the private chat room saw it. Big difference.

I did address the other issue but as usual you don't read what I write. I said the students who commit crimes should be punished. No ands ifs or buts.

Funny how you brush off calling people nazis and promoting punching them in the face as a joke. The hypocrisy of this is glaring.

Theodore Calvin 2 months ago

These folks are damned if they perform a peaceful sit-in, as the same baby-boomers on here would have done in their day to protest during another turbulent time in our history. These folks are damned if they show up and act just as the "3%ers" did in KC. What should they do to be heard? Fill out a complaint and drop it in the box? This is exactly how Americans have been taught to protest what they see as oppression.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Here is a similar story that raises some of the same questions raised by posters here that have been labeled bigots. Not every issue is black and white and having a different point of view doesn't make a person racist or bigoted.

https://sports.yahoo.com/hate-speech-isnt-crime-small-town-football-team-faces-question-012344100.html

The article raises the issue of whether anyone in particular was targeted. Hmm....seems like I said that about this issue. Keep in mind, all bullying is an offensive act, but not all offensive acts are bullying.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 2 months ago

I am opposed to bullying or abuse of any sort towards people or animals. I spent my career fighting it, and seeing the results of it. " Why can't we just get along ".

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Charles you ask an excellent question. The reason we can't get along is probably more complexed and nuanced than this, but here goes.

Not sure we every completely had a shared vision, but we certainly don't have one today. Our country is diverse and why diversity can be good, it can also be bad. We see both sides today. Diversity is good when you bring people with complementary but different skills, talents and ideas together to work toward a common vision and goal.

It is bad when people with diverse skills, talents and ideas compete against one another for their vision that runs counter to other visions. This is what we have today.

The other causes is people don't debate issues to persuade the other side, they just want to be right. It doesn't do any good if you are right but no one listens or follows.

The end goal has also changed. It has moved from advancing an agenda by demonstrating the superiority of it to attacking, disparaging and battering the other's agenda. We can see this in the posts here. ' You always put forth a cogent argument and do so in a respectful manner. But go back and look t the posts and how many offer nothing constructive but instead name call. They don't defend their beliefs but instead label others in an attempt to bully them into silence. The irony, of course, is the issue under discussion is using words to bully and attack.

I don't see it getting any better. Our country has grown angry and violent. Just like the first civil war we've readied an impasse and a greater violent conflict is looming

Alison Smith 2 months ago

WAKE UP LHS! The District has policies that should have been being enforced all along. What are you waiting for? A lawsuit? Another tragedy??

Josh Berg 2 months ago

I was bullied more than anyone here throughout grade school and high school. I did not rely on policies or a "sit in" to get my way. I did not call for a safe space. I continually proved myself until people started believing in me and one day the bullying stopped. The fact is people are bullied because they are different or not seen as one of the crowd. These students need to learn to get along and act normal and eventually they will be accepted. Pulling stunts like this just makes the problem worse.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

So they should all dye their skin white, go to a Christians church, and ignore their sexuality. Conform, conform, conform. And don't dare get involved in any artsy fartsy stuff, right? Play sports. Go along and make fun of those who are different. Don't be yourself, silly. Be what everyone else wants you to be. What a sad person you must be.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Sad peson? He's not the one who spends their entire day commenting on letters to the editor!

Amelia Anne Baranet 2 months ago

The bullying didn't stop, Josh. The bullies just moved on to someone else. The thing about excusing people who are "different" getting picked on is that there is ALWAYS someone "different". Yesterday it was you. Today it's these kids. Tomorrow it will be someone else...unless someone does something and takes a stand like THESE kids did. It's nice to be able to see past the end of your own nose.

Josh Berg 2 months ago

You will not end the bullying Amelia so stop pretending like your alternative viewpoint is going to make a change. These kids need to get tough and understand that this world is full of sharks and you need to learn to face it head on.

Raye Woolery 2 months ago

What these Students did was brave and amazing. Lawrence High is a school for the creative, independent young adults of Lawrence who have grown up in this town and will continue to shape Lawrence into the town we all want it to be. These students saw something corrupt and took action. Most of you adults commenting on this page wouldn't be caught dead at a protest, let alone a sit in over LGBT rights. Instead you are commenting on Facebook, arguing with each other like the rest of the world, over media, behind a screen. Each and every one of you ; a parent, or citizen of USD 497 should praise these students for standing in something they believe in. The students in my graduating class and the years prior would have not have the motivation or decency to even get together talk about LGBT rights. This is a step forward for High School Students , and I am proud to be a Lion. - Alum, Class of 2014

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Not conforming to the requirements of the hive mind is doubleplus ungood.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

I know you all want us to be just like you, a white, heterosexual Christian. That would make your little hive so much better for you, wouldn't it. So us nasty liberals, do not care about your sexuality. In fact, find your obsession with other's sexuality kind of perverted. No one is trying to tell you how to live your life, why do you want everyone to conform to your idea of "normal"?

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Wrong again on multiple counts, Dorothy.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Okay. Here is the difference between free speech and bullying, using examples taken from the article.

Free speech: " Another person insisted that the name on a person’s birth certificate determines gender once and for all, regardless of the person’s actual gender identity." This person has given an opinion. While many wouldn't agree with him/her, it's their right to have that opinion. But I think someone should send them back to sex ed. It isn't your name that determines your sex or there would be a lot of people named Ryan, Alex, Sydney, etc. very confused.

Bullying: “if a (slur for transgender person) hits you is it still hitting a woman or no?” This could be an implied threat. Why talk about hitting anyone, unless you are a boxer.

" Last year, she alleged, a handful of students attacked her and her girlfriend with anti-gay slurs during an assembly. Andersen-Rolland also said the students kicked her and her girlfriend before she reported the incident to LHS administration." Not only did they make the girls feel uncomfortable, they tried to harm them with kicks. There was no reason for these boys to even talk to these girls. It really isn't any of their business what these girls do or don't do. They were just trying to make themselves feel superior by trying to degrade other people. They are really kind of pathetic.

Many bullies who grow up and finally find their self confidence, and realize they were mean to people to make themselves feel superior, feel bad about what they did. Others continue to be adult bullies, but they soon don't have many friends. Why not make sure they grow up a bit faster by teaching them that they can't behave like that? Why not protect their victims? When I taught I protected kids who were victims of bullies.

Josh Berg 2 months ago

Something is very scary about the thought of Dorothy putting her ideas into the heads of other people's children.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

She'd just assign incorrect stereotypes to people she didn't actually know. That is her stock in trade on this site.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Yeah, I know. I taught them how to speak Spanish, you know, that language that those Mexicans speak. I taught them that if someone speaks Spanish they might not be from Mexico. I taught them how to respect other cultures, and that they were really like us.

The first Spanish words they learned were, Gracias, por favor, and de nada, and they were expected to use the words of politeness. I protected kids who were vulnerable, and didn't allow bullying. I expected my students to do the work and follow the rules. If they didn't, then they earned a detention, even if they played sports, gasp! What a meanie. Actually, except for one school where I taught, we had real coaches. If one of their players weren't behaving, you just had to let the coach know, and the kid had to sit out a game. I didn't teach them to be mean to people who were different than they were, how dare me.

I guess Josh should really homeschool his kids, because most teachers expect the same things out of their students.

Josh Berg 2 months ago

I will homeschool my kids if it keeps them away from protests like this that disrupt their learning. Kids are there to prepare for college not to protest school administration and write letters to the city asking to be a sanctuary city. Your part of the problem Dorothy

Greg Cooper 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Wow. I really pity your kids if you do home school them. Maybe you had better start by studying the English language and its correct usage, then. And that's not a bullying suggestion, Josh, but a hope that you will deeply consider your kids' future.

Paul Silkiner 2 months ago

Bob Forer,

Bob..........I noticed you did not write a comment of your own. You only seem to be interested or able to critique others.

Bob..........lead, follow or get out of the way!

Thank you,

Paul Silkiner

Peaty Romano 2 months ago

School policies are on the home page https://www.usd497.org/Domain/27

Bullying is any act that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health, physical health or safety of a student or that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, and that takes place on or immediately adjacent to district grounds, at any district-sponsored activity, on district-provided transportation or at any district bus stop. Cyberbullying means threats or harassment over Internet through web pages, email, instant messaging, text messaging, or by other electronic means.

Hazing is any act that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health, physical health or safety of a student for the propose of initiation or as a condition or precondition of attaining membership in, or affiliation with, any district-sponsored activity or grade level attainment.

LHS says NO to Bullying and Hazing!

David Holroyd 2 months ago

Free State students see a confederate flag and then wanted a safe place at the school... BUT when they get to the Mall or go downtown all is well!

Lawrence High ( a few ) want a safe place.... But when they go to the Mall or downtown all is well.

Yes, Mr. Forer, you can attack me...coming from a son of a former KU professor I would expect as much...in fact, most of the students at the former Altermative High School when it started were the daughters and son's of KU profs... the poor kids couldn't conform and adjust with the normal kids working their way thru school and the Profs who where their parents couldn't handle their own kids...it is true teachers are better with children other than their own..

How is the law business now these days?

Greg Cooper 1 month, 4 weeks ago

David, you have a great propensity for attacking the messenger rather than the message. So, here is my take on your comments:

You appear to be an under-educated, angry, not very well informed man. You have not shown the ability to understand any viewpoint but your own, and have an average, at best, ability to state your views. You seem to be happy attacking points with less than appropriate rebuttal, and do not like it when others point out your apparent inconsistencies and your lack of understanding of their points. And you have a really, really strong disrespect for educated folks.

Now, David, I have a question for you: am I bullying you with the above comment? Do you feel a need to retaliate? Do you think I am being mean or that I'm disrespectful of you?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.