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Wheatland WY is a place for hate

Timothy Kincaid

January 23rd, 2010

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to oppose the defamation of Jewish people. Although their primary focus is still on anti-Semitism, they have expanded their focus to oppose all forms of bigotry, defend democratic ideals and protect civil rights for all.

One of their current projects is a school based anti-bullying program called No Place for Hate.

No Place for Hate® was developed to organize schools to work together and develop projects that enhance the appreciation of diversity and foster harmony amongst diverse groups. The campaign empowers schools to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry.

Every day we make choices. We can choose to let anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry go unchallenged and potentially escalate, or we can choose to confront the bias that we see in our workplaces, homes, schools, and communities. As our world becomes smaller and our schools and communities more diverse, it is more critical than ever to actively build bridges to cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect.

bannerSchools across the nation participate in the program, including Wheatland High and West Elementary in Wheatland, Wyoming. They went through the steps of qualifying for participation and received banners which they hung at school, announcing that their campuses were No Place for Hate.

But then there were some protests and the banners were removed. In order to offer the program free to schools, ADL had sponsors whose names were included at the bottom of the banner.

They weren’t upset that Qwest, the communications company was listed. And they didn’t mind that the David & Laura Merage Foundation helped pay for the program. But that red circle with the words “Gay and Lesbian Fund” was simply unacceptable. So down they will stay. (WyomingNews)

Platte County School District 1 trustees voted 4-3 to keep the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners down at Wheatland High and West Elementary.

The trustees made no pretense at masking their anti-gay animus:

“If this is the way one chooses, then they can lead this particular lifestyle, but I don’t believe it needs to be publicly displayed in a school,” Dunham said.

Joe Fabian, another board member, said he believes the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage” and that the community of Wheatland is not supportive of that.

“They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle,” he said.

Oh, but they like the rest of the program. Can’t they just continue with being a ‘not place for hate except for gays‘?

No. The ADL was quick to note the irony and will not not let the schools participate in the program if they encourage and reward biases.

So Wheatland, Wyoming, a seventy-five mile drive from Laramie, now has a new designation, an adopted identity. Wheatland IS a Place for Hate. And if you’re a gay kid attending those schools, now you clearly know it.

Comments

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pantherq
January 23rd, 2010 | LINK

The ignorance considering the location is appalling. Watch out they are trolling this story on other sites.

Eric in Oakland
January 24th, 2010 | LINK

Wow. They managed to use so many of the words in the anti-gay lexicon in such brief commentary.

“chooses”
“lifestyle”
“agenda”
“alternative lifestyle”
“normal”

Eric in Oakland
January 24th, 2010 | LINK

Wow. They managed to use so many of the words in the anti-gay lexicon in such brief commentary.

“chooses”
“lifestyle”
“agenda”
“dictating”
“alternative lifestyle”
“normal”

Ben
January 24th, 2010 | LINK

I read that the students are not taking this lightly. They continue to wear buttons, and place photo copies of the banners on their lockers.

The funniest thing is that the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado is based in Colorado Springs. They fund so many cultural events in the Springs that you’d be hard pressed not to see the logo all sorts of places here.

Dennis
January 24th, 2010 | LINK

This turn of events may be the best publicity we could possibly have. Children understand the feelings of hate, the actions of bullying, and other inconsistencies between Christian and social values as taught and how things really are in practice. This event will put a focus on how their parents and leaders parse the issue to fight and promote hate at the same time. They will learn more from what they see than if the issue were just left alone. My heart goes out to the LGBT young people who have more data to confirm why they should be afraid.

zoey
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

Hi,
I live in Wheatland WY. The school board banned the No Place for Hate program at WHS because it is sponsored in part by the Colorado Gan and Lesbian Fund. The story and links and comments are available at http://www.wheatland.com

We just started a petition and we are hoping for 10,000 signatures. Would you sign it and pass it around? We’re going for 10,000 signatures to really make them sit back and take notice. There are only 3,500 people in Wheatland, and 300 at WHS. The only we can get that many sigs is if a LOT of people sign and PASS IT ON via Twitter and blogs and just plain email. I am writing to PFLAG groups to try and get signatures. We want to do this in a peaceful way, and show people that there is nothing to fear but hate itself. Please sign and pass it on! If you have Twitter, that’s great.

Wheatland is an ok place. We can make it better by showing those four people who made this bad decision that they don’t speak for ALL of Wheatland, or Wyoming. Hope you can sign and pass it on and let them see that.

Thank you!

http://www.wheaterville.com

Regan DuCasse
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

I signed it, and THANK YOU, Zoey!

Nevada Blue
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for spreading the word, Zoey. I signed and passed along on email.

zoey
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks to everyone who signed it. We are tryiing to get Rachel Maddow to spread the word on her show. If you have time, it would be great if you’d send a quick note to
rachel@msnbc.com

If you think that’s pushy, I understand, and I thank you for signing the petition and for spreading the word. The petition is has about 350 signatures last I saw, and that is really inspiring!

Thanks!

Cathy Riddle
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

I am a resident of Wheatland Wyoming and I am appalled at the decision of the school board. I do not support the idea that Wheatland Wyoming does not support gays or gay marriage. I am tired of the religious right speaking for all of us. I am a member of a very conservative fundamental church and – still I do not believe in persecuting gays. I am so tired of this small town abuse of anyone that doesn’t fall into what a few think is the norm. And it’s not just homosexuality that is on trial here – it is anyone that comes into this town with any kind of outlook that doesn’t line up with the good ole boys of Wheatland Wyoming. They are interbred here – part of the problem!!! I don’t believe that is an exaggeration. People that want to be big fish in a little pond move here – like Dance instructors and small business people – who can’t make it in a bigger city.

Sharon
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks to all who do not hate all of us in Wheatland. I am a long time resident though not from here originally. I have never seen such outward disdain of a group of people (gay and lesbian individuals) as I have heard by 1 board member in particular. I think the rest of the board did what was easy instead of what is hard. Most of Wheatland didn’t know a controversy was brewing until after the school board meeting. A few parents expressed the dislike of the banners and no one else even knew there was a problem. The media keeps interviewing the closeminded members of the board and doesn’t talk to anyone else in the community. Believe me, Wheatland is not a place for hate but is full of people with true christian values which does not include the mistreatment of anyone for any reason. All communities have a few haters, unfortunately, one of ours is in a position of making decisions that make the rest of us look bad.

Jackie Pepin
February 18th, 2010 | LINK

I have only been here for a year, and love this little town. However, I, too, am appalled at the close-minded small group who doesn’t think “Hate” in general needs to be addressed in Wheatland. I believe every school board member should be required to walk through the “Tunnel of Hate” on Walnut, leading under the highway. There are slurs calling other kids “Jews,” “Lesbos,” “Whores,” and worse, and pictures of genitalia, etc., written all over it. This is extremely detrimental to both the victim of the slurs, and (I believe) to the writers themselves–as it is typical of self-loathing to indulge in this behavior. SHAME ON THE BOARD MEMBERS IN THEIR EXTREME TUNNEL VISION. Christ must be so proud–NOT!

Wyoming fights gay literature in public schools - Stormfront
June 13th, 2011 | LINK

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