Tag Archives: prom

Police seized spent ammo, journals from prom shooter’s home

Police seized spent ammo, a gun sling and journals from the home of the 18-year-old who opened fire on students at a prom at his former school in northern Wisconsin before being fatally shot by an officer, court records show.

According to a search warrant and supporting affidavit, Antigo Police Patrolman Andy Hopfensperger shot Jakob Wagner multiple times to stop the attack. Wagner was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead early Sunday.

Hopfensperger and another officer were checking cars in the school parking lot when Wagner opened fire and wounded two people as they left the dance, according to a statement from Antigo Police Capt. Nate Musolff. Hopfensperger fired “as the shooter was actively engaging the kids with the rifle.”

One 18-year-old male student was struck in the leg and a bullet grazed his date’s thigh. Both are recovering.

Authorities haven’t previously identified the officer who shot Wagner, but they have said his actions “saved a lot of lives” by preventing him from ending up inside the dance. They also haven’t revealed a motive in the case, but people who knew Wagner have said he was bullied.

Wagner’s mother, Lorrie Wagner, told The Associated Press on Monday that her son “wasn’t a monster” and that she hopes the tragedy “shines light on bullying and how deeply it affects people.” His family released a statement Tuesday that said his loved ones are “filled with sorrow over the injuries caused to his victims, the position in which the police officers were placed along with the prom goers and their families.”

The statement released by an Antigo funeral home said Wagner’s family realizes “his actions have torn open a wound in our community. We pray for healing.”

According to the documents filed Monday in Langlade County Circuit Court, officers seized several types of spent rounds along with the strap and various journal entries, notes and drawings. They also took electronics, including an iPod, a cellphone and video game systems. Additionally, the records show the seizure of “Notecards Devil In Nature” and “Teen Suicide Reading Materials.”

Hopfensperger is on paid administrative leave, which is routine for officers involved in shootings.

Officials praise quick response to prom shooting

Officials in Wisconsin praised the quick actions of police and district staff to stop an 18-year-old gunman, saying they averted what could have been a much worse attack on a high school prom.

Two students were injured when the gunman — identified by police as Jakob E. Wagner — fired a rifle on them as they left Antigo High School on Saturday night. A police officer already at the scene fatally shot Wagner in the parking lot.

The Unified School District of Antigo said there will be a heightened police presence at the high school for the next several days and students will have support from counselors and others.

Investigators have not discussed a possible motive or said whether they believe the students were specifically targeted.

But a school administrator said it appeared Wagner intended to go into the dance and start shooting randomly. “We have no reason to believe at this point it was targeting anybody specifically,” interim district administrator Donald B. Childs told The Associated Press on Sunday, adding that the shooting at the entrance happened “from some distance.”

Wagner approached the school with a high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip, school administrators said in a statement. The district said the “quick actions” taken by police and district staff to secure the building “prevented what might have otherwise been a disaster of unimaginable proportions.”

The two prom-goers who were wounded were shot as they exited the building, according to Eric Roller, the chief of police in Antigo, a community of about 8,000 people roughly 150 miles north of Milwaukee.

“Officers were in the parking lot patrolling the activities and heard the shots and an officer immediately fired upon the shooter, stopping the threat,” Roller said. He said the gunman was then taken into custody. Wagner died at a hospital.

Gov. Scott Walker joined in praising the police response, saying in a statement the actions of the Antigo Police Department “undoubtedly saved lives.”

The female victim was treated and released and the male victim was undergoing surgery for injuries that weren’t life-threatening, police said. Childs said the wounded boy, who was shot in the leg, attended the high school but that his date, who was grazed in the shooting, was from out of state.

Nikita Deep, a student at the school who attended the prom, told the Wausau Daily Herald that police officers came into the building and moved students to one corner. Students weren’t released until about 2 a.m. Sunday, three hours after the shooting.

“We heard there was a situation, but I thought it was some kind of drug bust,” Deep said. “Then they flipped the lights and then about 12 officers came in and are armored. We were all frightened.”

Friends said Wagner was a senior at Antigo High School in 2015, but Childs said he did not graduate with his classmates and was continuing to work on his diploma. He said the school of about 750 students will have counselors available when classes resumed Monday.

Friends expressed shock that Wagner was the suspect.

“For him to do that, something just isn’t right. He was a good kid,” said Dakotta Mills, who said he had known Wagner since sixth grade and considered him a “foster brother.”

Wagner was interested in guns and wanted to become a hunter, Mills said, but he wasn’t sure Wagner could afford a gun. He said Mills was raised by his mother and grandparents and was still living at home.

Wagner loved video games and music, particularly violin and cello, and had been in the school marching band, Mills said.

Dylan Dewey, who graduated from Antigo High last year, said Wagner had been dating a girl at the school who broke up with him last month. He described Wagner as an “all-around good guy” who enjoyed hanging out with friends.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation has been asked to lead an outside review of the officer-involved shooting, agency spokesman Johnny Koremenos said.

Principal blocks lesbian student from wearing tux to prom

A gay student in Louisiana says she is going to skip her prom because the school principal won’t let her wear a tuxedo.

Claudettia Love, a senior and one of the top students at Carroll High in Monroe, said she was planning on going to the prom with a group of friends, but now they are staying away.

“I told my mom, `They’re using me. They put me in all these honors and advanced placement classes so I can take all of these tests and get good grades and better the school, but when it’s time for me to celebrate the fact that I’ve accomplished what I need to accomplish and I’m about to graduate, they don’t want to let me do it, the way I want to,'” she told The News-Star.

The decision is part of the school’s dress code and not anything personal, principal Patrick Taylor told The News-Star.

Monroe City School Board president Rodney McFarland disagreed.

“Banning her from her prom just because of what she wants to wear – that’s discrimination,” he said. “As far as I know there is no Monroe City School Board policy saying what someone has to wear to attend the prom. You can’t just go making up policies.”

He said he planned to ask Superintendent Brent Vidrine to talk to Taylor.

Love’s mother, Geraldine Jackson, said Taylor told her faculty members said they wouldn’t supervise the April 24 prom if girls wore tuxes. “That’s his exact words. `Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is,'” she said.

Last year, Love was one of a group of students presented in a Monroe City School Board meeting as part of the school’s high achieving medical magnet program. She will represent the school at the annual Scholars’ Banquet, an event for the top students in Ouachita Parish, and has a full scholarship to Jackson State University.

Indiana teacher suspended over anti-gay remarks

An Indiana school district reeling from the uproar over a teacher’s comments that she believes gays have no purpose in life suspended the woman on Feb. 20.

Superintendent Mark Baker of the Northeast School Corp. in western Indiana’s Sullivan County issued a statement saying the teacher has been placed on administrative leave out of concern “for the safety and security of everyone in our buildings.” He added that “as a precaution” the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police “have deemed it necessary to station an officer” at North Central Junior-Senior High School in Farmersburg, about 75 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

He said the “administration and one school employee in particular” at the school have received “aggressive email messages.”

“We are turning over to law enforcement all such communications,” Baker said.

The superintendent did not identify the teacher, but special education teacher Diana Medley’s comments have circulated widely on social networking sites amid news coverage in nearby Sullivan of a non-school sanctioned prom that would ban gay students. Sullivan, a city of about 4,200, is near the Illinois border.

“I just … I don’t understand it,” Medley said when asked whether gays have a purpose in life. She was speaking to WTWO-TV of Terre Haute at a planning meeting earlier this month for the anti-gay dance.

Medley, who has no published telephone number, couldn’t be reached for comment. She didn’t immediately respond to a message that The Associated Press sent to her school email account.

“As many of you know and appreciate, our school corporation is continuing to manage as responsibly and respectfully as possible the fallout from comments made by an employee as she attended a meeting outside of school or a school activity,” Baker said. “We have conveyed our disappointment and our disagreement with these statements and have emphasized her comments do not reflect our schools’ views or opinions.”

As of Feb. 20, a petition on Change.org calling for Medley’s dismissal had generated more than 19,500 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 28,000 likes. Meanwhile, some gay rights groups are trying to bolster the confidence of gay teens with a Facebook page that will collect supportive videos.

Video project to reassure gay teens follows teacher’s condemnation

Some gay rights groups are trying to bolster the confidence of gay teens after an Indiana teacher said she believes gays have no purpose in life.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays state coordinator Annette Gross said over the weekend the “You Have a Purpose” Facebook page will collect videos submitted to encourage gay youth. She compared the project to syndicated columnist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project aimed at deterring bullied gays from suicide.

The project comes after several residents in Sullivan, Ind., including some high schoolers, proposed holding a non-school sanctioned “traditional” prom that would ban gay students. Diana Medley, a group member who is a special education teacher in another school district, made comments in support of the plan, saying she believes being gay is a choice people make and that gays have no purpose in life.

Organizers of the “You Have a Purpose” campaign said that while the project is in response to Medley’s remarks, they don’t want the effort to get bogged down in the Internet storm of criticism aimed at her.

“This is about the kids. This isn’t about her,” Gross said. “We just want to focus on the positive, letting them (gay teens) know that they do have a purpose and there are people out there that care about them.”

The Facebook page will not accept videos aimed at Medley or the prom dispute, Gross said. The page, which went online late last week, was set up by the Interfaith Coalition on Non-Discrimination, Indiana PFLAG, Indiana Equality Action and FairTalk.

“Some people wanted us to march down to the school board and make an issue there, and we just didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” said Marie Siroky, president of ICON, who conceived the page.

Siroky, a minister in the United Church of Christ, is a lesbian who traveled to Iowa four years ago to marry her partner of 18 years. The UCC allows gay couples to marry in the church, and gay marriage is legal in Iowa.

Siroky said the online video campaign is so that “a kid sitting alone in his room wondering if he is going to come out to his parents, he can go on YouTube or the site and see that there are people out there who care about him.”

Medley’s comments have been widely circulated on social networking sites and in news coverage of the story and have led to online campaigns trying to get her fired. A petition on Change.org calling for her dismissal had generated more than 18,000 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom as of Feb. 16, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 27,000 likes.

Plans for prom banning gays rocks Indiana community

A small Indiana community best known for its parks and corn festival has become the center of a national discussion about intolerance over a group’s plans to host a “traditional” prom that bans gay students.

Residents and officials in Sullivan, a city of about 4,200 near the Illinois border, are scrambling to escape the uncomfortable spotlight cast when a teacher supporting the “traditional” prom for Sullivan High School said she believes people choose to be gay and that gays have no purpose in life.

“I just … I don’t understand it,” Diana Medley, referring to gays, told Terre Haute television station WTWO.

The comments by Medley, a special education teacher in a neighboring school district, have gone viral and sparked online campaigns to have her fired. A petition on Change.org calling for her dismissal had generated more than 17,500 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom as of Thursday, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 27,000 likes.

The fallout has surprised many residents, who say the issue roiling the community in an area known for coal mining and attractive parks is being blown out of proportion.

“We are conservative around here. That’s just the way of this town,” said Nancy Woodard, 60, who owns the Hidden Treasure Exchange store. “In any town in this county, you’ll find four or five churches no matter how small the town. … The Bible is a big belief system here.

“Everybody has jumped on this little town. To me, there isn’t any need for it,” she said.

Sullivan High School Principal David Springer said talk of the “traditional” prom began in January, after a student began circulating a petition demanding that gays be allowed to participate in the grand march at Sullivan’s April 27 prom. The “traditional” prom would not be sanctioned by the district and wouldn’t be held at the school.

Springer said the school, which has 545 students in grades 9-12, has never banned same-sex pairs from the event.

“I’ve been to eight grand marches and … we always had girls go out together, and a lot of times they just didn’t have a date,” Springer said. “Our prom is open to all of our students.”

But others say calls for a “traditional” prom, fueled by Medley’s comments, speak to a larger climate in which gay students fear being bullied and aren’t welcome.

“When someone says your kid has no purpose, how do you think that makes a parent feel?” asked Annette Gross, Indiana state coordinator for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), whose son came out at age 19.

Aaron Gettinger, a 20-year-old Stanford University student who graduated from Sullivan High in 2011, said he isn’t surprised by the push for a “traditional” prom that would ban gay students. He said he was bullied daily because he is gay and encountered viewpoints similar to those espoused by Medley.

“It’s just the way that it is,” he said. “It’s part of a way of thinking that the rest of the country needs to know still exists and goes on.”

Organizers of the “traditional” prom declined to comment, and it’s unclear whether the event will still happen.

School officials and the minister of a church where planners met Sunday have worked to distance themselves from the flap.

Dale Wise, the church’s senior minister at Sullivan First Christian Church, said his church turned off its fax machine and took its website offline Tuesday because both were the target of hate mail and pornographic messages.

Wise said the planning group met at the church because it allows community meetings to take place there but the church “had no affiliation whatsoever” with the “traditional” prom effort.

Springer said his staff has been inundated with calls and emails about Medley, whom he noted doesn’t work for his school. She teaches in the Northeast School Corp., a neighboring district.

Neither Medley nor Northeast officials returned calls seeking comment. The district issued a statement this week saying Medley was “expressing her First Amendment rights” and that “the views expressed are not the views of the Northeast School Corporation and/or the Board of Education.”

Sullivan isn’t alone in its struggles over how to handle same-sex couples at proms. A small southeast Missouri school district is facing a threat of legal action over a policy barring same-sex couples from attending prom together.

The Southern Poverty Law Center on Thursday accused the Scott County Central School District in Sikeston of discrimination and gave the district until Feb. 25 to revise the school dance policy or face a potential lawsuit.

Sullivan High School freshman Te’Airra Walters, 15, said it shouldn’t be a big deal for a same-sex couple to attend prom together. She said she doesn’t like the negative attention the controversy has attracted.

“People from other schools around here are saying Sullivan is trashy,” she said. “I think it’s pretty much ridiculous.”

Plan to ban gays from prom rocks small Indiana town

A small Indiana community best known for its parks and corn festival has become the center of a national discussion about intolerance over a group’s plans to host a “traditional” prom that bans gay students.

Residents and officials in Sullivan, a city of about 4,200 near the Illinois border, are scrambling to escape the uncomfortable spotlight cast when a teacher supporting the “traditional” prom for Sullivan High School said she believes people choose to be gay and that gays have no purpose in life.

“I just … I don’t understand it,” Diana Medley, referring to gays, told Terre Haute television station WTWO.

The comments by Medley, a special education teacher in a neighboring school district, have gone viral and sparked online campaigns to have her fired. A petition on Change.org calling for her dismissal had generated more than 17,500 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom as of Thursday, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 27,000 likes.

The fallout has surprised many residents, who say the issue roiling the community in an area known for coal mining and attractive parks is being blown out of proportion.

“We are conservative around here. That’s just the way of this town,” said Nancy Woodard, 60, who owns the Hidden Treasure Exchange store. “In any town in this county, you’ll find four or five churches no matter how small the town. … The Bible is a big belief system here.

“Everybody has jumped on this little town. To me, there isn’t any need for it,” she said.

Sullivan High School principal David Springer said talk of the “traditional” prom began in January, after a student began circulating a petition demanding that gays be allowed to participate in the grand march at Sullivan’s April 27 prom. The “traditional” prom would not be sanctioned by the district and wouldn’t be held at the school.

Springer said the school, which has 545 students in grades 9-12, has never banned same-sex pairs from the event.

“I’ve been to eight grand marches and … we always had girls go out together, and a lot of times they just didn’t have a date,” Springer said. “Our prom is open to all of our students.”

But others say calls for a “traditional” prom, fueled by Medley’s comments, speak to a larger climate in which gay students fear being bullied and aren’t welcome.

“When someone says your kid has no purpose, how do you think that makes a parent feel?” asked Annette Gross, Indiana state coordinator for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), whose son came out at age 19.

Aaron Gettinger, a 20-year-old Stanford University student who graduated from Sullivan High in 2011, said he isn’t surprised by the push for a “traditional” prom that would ban gay students. He said he was bullied daily because he is gay and encountered viewpoints similar to those espoused by Medley.

“It’s just the way that it is,” he said. “It’s part of a way of thinking that the rest of the country needs to know still exists and goes on.”

Organizers of the “traditional” prom declined to comment, and it’s unclear whether the event will still happen.

School officials and the minister of a church where planners met Sunday have worked to distance themselves from the flap.

Dale Wise, the church’s senior minister at Sullivan First Christian Church, said his church turned off its fax machine and took its website offline Tuesday because both were the target of hate mail and pornographic messages.

Wise said the planning group met at the church because it allows community meetings to take place there but the church “had no affiliation whatsoever” with the “traditional” prom effort.

Springer said his staff has been inundated with calls and emails about Medley, whom he noted doesn’t work for his school. She teaches in the Northeast School Corp., a neighboring district.

Neither Medley nor Northeast officials returned calls seeking comment. The district issued a statement this week saying Medley was “expressing her First Amendment rights” and that “the views expressed are not the views of the Northeast School Corporation and/or the Board of Education.”

Sullivan isn’t alone in its struggles over how to handle same-sex couples at proms. A small southeast Missouri school district is facing a threat of legal action over a policy barring same-sex couples from attending prom together.

The Southern Poverty Law Center this week accused the Scott County Central School District in Sikeston of discrimination and gave the district until Feb. 25 to revise the school dance policy or face a potential lawsuit.

Sullivan High School freshman Te’Airra Walters, 15, said it shouldn’t be a big deal for a same-sex couple to attend prom together. She said she doesn’t like the negative attention the controversy has attracted.

“People from other schools around here are saying Sullivan is trashy,” she said. “I think it’s pretty much ridiculous.”

Parking-lot prom held after same-sex couple banned from school dance

A same-sex couple and a Roman Catholic high school in Kentucky are at odds over whether the teenagers should have been allowed to go to the prom together.

Lexington Catholic High School senior Hope Decker and sophomore Tiffany Wright had already gotten their dresses for the dance, but were told late last week by school administrators that they couldn’t attend.

Wright, 16, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that school administrators cited the Catholic Church’s stance on same-sex relationships.

“I would understand and respect the school’s decision if they truly upheld church teachings,” Wright said. “They didn’t forbid the entrance of all the couples who’ve had premarital sex and all the kids who planned to get drunk after the prom.”

Lexington Catholic president Steve Angelucci said the school’s policies and procedures reflect the church’s teachings on the issue.

“As a Catholic high school, we uphold every teaching of the Catholic Church,” Angelucci said.

The Diocese of Lexington issued a statement this week supporting the school administrators’ decision and also said it was consistent with the church’s teachings.

“The Church empathizes with those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but, at the same time, the Church and its institutions, like Lexington Catholic, cannot condone or promote actions which normalize homosexual tendencies,” the statement said. “This in no way detracts from the value and dignity of the students involved. In light of Catholic teaching, the actions of the Lexington Catholic High School administration were a corrective invitation to the students involved to embrace their truest human dignity as children of God.”

When the couple tried to enter the school’s gymnasium on May 12 where the prom was held, they were turned away, so Wright said they held their own prom in the school’s parking lot.

Wright said Decker, 18, was “overwhelmed with all of the attention” and did not want to comment for the story. The paper reported that Decker later asked the story not be printed because she didn’t want to hurt the reputation of the high school.

Wright said the couple’s parking-lot prom was great.

“We had a wonderful night, and we were surrounded by true friends,” Wright said. “I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

Lexington Catholic senior Suzie Napier attended the parking lot prom. Napier said she wrote a letter to school administrators expressing displeasure at their decision and that 107 fellow students signed it. Napier said “universal love and acceptance” is greater Catholic tradition than its stance on same-sex relationships.

“I think that it is unfair that Hope and Tiffany were not allowed to attend prom together,” Napier said. “I can understand why, but I don’t agree with it.”

Napier said the students played music from their parked cars at the outside prom and set up a table for refreshments.

Megan Carter-Stone, a senior, also attended the outside prom.

“It was a wonderful time, and I think we got our point across,” Carter-Stone said. “At least I hope we did.”

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‘Funky Winkerbean’ comic follows gay storyline

Cartoonist Tom Batiuk’s new storyline for “Funky Winkerbean” began this week. He’s chronicling a gay couple determined to go to their high school prom together and the consequences that ensue.

Launching during the strip’s 40th anniversary year, the series distributed by King Features Syndicate is appearing in more than 400 newspapers.

The strip has featured a number of controversial storylines not typically addressed in the funny pages – teen pregnancy, suicide, teen-dating violence, the death penalty and alcoholism.

The new prom storyline, introduces two gay teenagers attempting to go to the fictional Westview High prom together. The community and school become divided over the issue, resulting in a heated debate with one side demanding acceptance and the other side expressing intolerance toward same-sex couples attending the prom. The series also delves into the generational differences that arise when this issue is brought to the forefront.

“As I sit in on the classes at my old high school, I see how the younger generation’s attitude towards gays is more open and accepting than that of their predecessors,” said Batiuk. “It shows promise that this emerging generation will one day bring this cultural war to an end. Until then, this story is an attempt to reach across the divide and speak to the intolerance that still exists on the other side.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called the prom tale “a heartwarming story of allies taking a stand for LGBT youth, and the kind that we need to see more of.”

“We’re pleased to see such an accurate portrayal of today’s young people represented in ‘Funky Winkerbean,’” said Stephanie Laffin of the It Gets Better anti-bullying project.

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Military academies hold first gay Pride events

At the beginning of the school year, gay Pride events at a military academy with titles like “condom Olympics” and “queer prom” would have been unthinkable. Now they’re a reality.

Cadets in uniform at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., the nation’s oldest private military academy, participated on March 26 in sessions about handling bullying and harassment as part of the school’s first gay Pride week. The events are believed to be the first of their kind on a military campus.

Just over six months after the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces, it’s a different – and less secretive – world.

Until last year, only a select few at Norwich knew of the sexual orientation of Joshua Fontanez, a past president of the student government who quietly laid the groundwork for the school’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allies Club, which held its first meeting the day the law ended.

He had always wanted to be a soldier but figured he’d have to keep his sexuality a secret.

“The aspects of my sexual orientation, how that played in the military, that was something I was willing to sacrifice, being open versus serving my nation,” Fontanez said. “It’s something I feel I was truly called toward and truly loved, so it’s great that I don’t have necessarily to make that sacrifice.”

In December, a group of students at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., formed a group called Spectrum, which has many of the same goals as the Norwich club. A similar organization with the same name is being formed in New York at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

For many of the newly open student leaders, the changes brought by the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” haven’t overwhelmed, despite the years-long political wrangling that culminated in the policy change.

“It was definitely a big change, but it happened over such a long period of time for me that it didn’t seem like that big of a deal,” said Coast Guard Academy Senior Chip Hall.

The West Point Spectrum, modeled after the Coast Guard organization, is being formed with little fanfare.

“Everyone has been very professional here at the academy,” said West Point Cadet Andrew Fitzsimmons, 19, a sophomore from Algonac, Mich. “It’s been a very positive environment.”

A group of alumni called Knights Out will hold a campus dinner this weekend and is expecting at least a dozen cadets to attend, said the group’s director, Sue Fulton, a 1980 West Point graduate who was among the first women admitted to the academy.

“The official status has changed dramatically, in that public events that would have been prohibited are happening; but in terms of attitudes, I think cadets and midshipmen have long been supportive of their gay and lesbian classmates,” Fulton said.

Norwich, established in 1819, has about 1,300 cadets and 1,100 civilian students.

The gay student club is believed to be the first of its kind in the country on a military campus, Norwich officials said. Thirty to 35 people attend meetings.

The events in late March – held at a different time of year from many other gay Pride events, which usually are observed in June or October – included discussions of HIV testing; the “condom Olympics,” in which prophylactics are given as prizes; and a dance at which same-sex partners are welcome.

As an institution, Norwich never banned open homosexuality in the corps of cadets, but because many of its students were destined for the military, which prior to the end of “don’t ask don’t tell” the law served to keep people quiet, said Norwich spokeswoman Daphne Larkin.

Some members of Norwich’s Christian Fellowship have been uncomfortable with gay student club, but the two organizations have worked together, with members of each attending some of the other’s meetings, said biology emeritus professor Carlos Pinkham, the Christian group’s faculty adviser.

“We make it clear to them that we use the bible as our guide and that as a result we can’t condone the stuff they do,” Pinkham said. “But the Bible is also equally clear, in fact, even more clear. … Being judgmental about the sin without extending love to the sinner is another form of sin.”

The groups are a consequence of changing times, said Norwich vice president Michael Kelley, a 1974 graduate who spent 27 years in the military before returning to academia. He noted the school was among the first to allow female cadets.

“It’s saying that we as a military community are looking to more to the future, that we’re not quibbling about the past, what was or what wasn’t,” he said, “that we can take a leadership role to help move our students to a more enlightened future.”

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