CHEYENNE – Students in McCormick Junior High’s Gay Straight Alliance club were told Wednesday afternoon they were no longer allowed to have or wear any LGBTQ paraphernalia on school grounds, including flags, shirts, pins and bracelets.
Students were told they would not even be allowed to wear rainbow colors to school, according to a student and several parents.
This is the latest response to racist and anti-gay flyers found in the school last month that read “it’s great to be straight it’s not OK to be gay,” “black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton,” and “Join the KKK,” with “the confederate kid club” in parentheses beneath it.
Around 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, roughly 20-25 students from the GSA club were called out of class and sent to a room where three faculty awaited them, Ashlynn Kercher, an eighth-grade member of McCormick’s GSA said.
The faculty included the current GSA sponsor and two others, who told the GSA students they would no longer be allowed to have rainbow flags. The students asked if instead they could make pins or bracelets. They were told no, Kercher 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,’” she said.
Kercher said they were told if they violate this new rule, they will be written up for dress code violations, which can result in suspensions over time.
Emily Fowler, a McCormick parent whose daughter is a GSA member said her daughter told her the same thing.
“I could tell she’d been crying,” when she picked her daughter up from school Wednesday, Fowler said.
“She said ‘they told us we weren’t allowed to wear anything LGBTQ related,’” Fowler said her daughter told her Wednesday afternoon.
McCormick principal Jeff Conine told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that he was unaware this meeting had happened and he had not made any decision to ban anything.
“It didn’t come from this administration,” Conine said.
Another parent, Abby Kercher, Ashlynn Kercher’s mother, said she’d spoken with the district’s Title IX coordinator, John Balow, who is responsible for the ongoing investigation into the flyers found at the school last month.
Abby Kercher said Balow told her that he and Conine made the decision to ban the clothing and flags together. Balow did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him for this story.
Conine said he had no knowledge of this.
This story is being updated.