April 25th, 2008
One of the consistent (and consistently stupid) claims of the anti-gay wacktivists is that the Day of Silence is “disrupting” of schools. Sitting there silent (unless called on in class) disrupts the education process by (silently) shoving your views down the throats of other students (the other frequent but oddly chosen catch phrase), ya see.
So Rev. Ken Hutcherson decided to protest, along with 1,000 of his prayer buddies.
Well, the Day of Silence has come and gone at the Mount Si High School. And how did Hutch do in quelling the disturbance?
Well, let’s see…
Around 7 am about 80 parents and supporters of the Gay-Straight Alliance came and silently stood to welcome those students observing the DOS.
“We want to let students in the GSA know they have support in the community,” said Lucinda Hauser, a parent of a Mount Si student.
Then at 9:30 am, Hutcherson’s bus showed up with him, his bodyguards, and about 100 supporters. Although he had placed an add in the local newspaper and was hoping for 1,000 angry anti-gays, he didn’t come close to meeting his goal. Hutcherson’s group began to pray and sing and wave signs with messages such as “Silence for Unnatural Behavior? Not ME”.
The parents and supporters had left around 8, not wanting to deal with Hutch and crew. But another group of about 150 counter-protestors were there to challenge the anti-gays. Some, it seems, were from Tolt UCC Congregational Church who ran an ad of support for the students in the same newspaper.
Ken Lauren, a Redmond parent whose son-in-law teaches at Mt. Si, shouted, “Are these the values you want your kids to grow up with — bigotry, intolerance, hatred.” He carried a sign that said, “I believe in separation of church and hate.”
The chaos outside was in contrast to the silence inside. About 200 of the 1,400 students took part in the effort to honor Lawrence King and to draw attention to discrimination and violence against gay kids.
But theirs was not the only message. The Mt. Si Conservative Club passed out red, white and blue ribbons to display their opposition to the silent students.
Inside the school, students and administrators said there were many T-shirts expressing opposing views and some intense discussions.
And to avoid all the conflict (or, more likely, because they could get away with it), about 500 students stayed away from school.
So how well did Rev. Hutcherson do in his quest to stop the disturbing effect of the Day of Silence at his daughter’s high school? Perhaps it would do to compare Mt. Si to other schools in the area.
Seventeen of 19 high schools in King County participated in the National Day of Silence, but none of the other schools had any of the tense moments seen in Snoqualmie.
So I guess we can say that Hutch didn’t succeed in his goal of bringing order from chaos. But some have doubts that this was his goal anyway.
Reverend Hutcherson and his supporters said they were there because they didn’t think school is the place for a demonstration about sexuality.
However, school officials think Hutcherson’s stand may be pay-back after teachers, since disciplined, heckled him at a civil rights assembly. And the school says Friday’s tolerance should be a lesson to both students and parents alike.
“The reverend is going to do what he’s going to do,” said Mt. Si High School principal Randy Taylor. “We certainly are disappointed that he’s taken this form of protest on a student-initiated, student-organized activity.”
I’ll bet Taylor is praying that Hutch decides on private schooling soon.
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