Activists are demanding that officials of a Wichita, Kans., high school retract an editorial that appeared in a student newspaper condemning same-sex dating and citing biblical scripture that calls for the execution of gays and lesbians.
“(Same-sex) relationships just are not normal,” the editorial says. “One thing to notice is that there is legislation against homosexual marriage. However, there are no legislative restrictions to same sex dating. Dating does often lead to marriage, so same-sex dating should be frowned upon. … It is a social disruption in many cases, and should be kept out of school to ensure our educational mission with as little of a distraction as possible.”
Gay rights activists called on East High School’s leaders to “undo the damage and hurt” caused by the piece, which ran in the editorial section of The Messenger.
Calling the editorial “hate speech,” The Center for Human Rights, an LGBT organization in Wichita, joined with First Metropolitan Community Church and other local groups to schedule a press conference to address the incident.
The school district responded with a statement saying the school maintains the right of student journalists to publish controversial opinions. School officials emphasized their commitment to “a safe and nurturing environment for all students.”
“East High Principal Ken Thiessen met with members of his school’s student organization representing students with alternative lifestyles, explained the circumstances leading to publication of this student opinion, and invited students with a different viewpoint to respond with their own opinion piece,” the statement said.
Following the release of the statement, the organizations canceled the press conference to “give the school adequate and appropriate time to follow through on those responses.”