About 100 students at an Oregon high school walked out of classes last week in support of the LGBTQ community after they said a series of events made students feel unsafe, including the presence of a Chick-fil-A food truck at home football games.
The West Linn High School students, organized by the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, walked out of school Friday to protest what they say is rising anti-LGBTQ sentiment on campus. GSA President Susie Walters, who organized the protest, told a local NBC affiliate that LGBTQ students have increasingly been the target of harassment and bullying at the school.
Two recent incidents sparked the protest, including a transgender senior’s car being vandalized with the word “queer” on it and Chick-fil-A being invited as this season’s food vendor for home football games.
“We walked out to show our student pride,” Billie Henderson, the student whose car was vandalized, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “To show that despite everything we’ve been through, we are still proud of who we are, and we won’t back down and we won’t make exceptions for anyone.”
A group of counterprotesters also walked out of classes wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and waving American flags and Chick-fil-A bags, Breitbart News reported.
West Linn Principal Greg Neuman sent an email to parents on Friday saying that while the school supports students’ free speech, it does not encourage walkouts, OPB reported
Andrew Kilstrom, the school’s public information officer, said the school was unaware of any acts of harassment against its students.
“The West Linn-Wilsonville School District takes all matters of school safety seriously, and diligently investigates and addresses all potential safety concerns,” he said, OPB reported. “That includes bullying or cyberbullying.”
The school said the Chick-fil-A food truck will remain at the football games throughout the season, but it will reconsider its vetting process moving forward.
Chick-fil-A made headlines this spring after the left-wing ThinkProgress released a report saying the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1.8 million in 2017 to Christian and socially conservative groups with an alleged history of anti-LGBTQ bias.
The report renewed criticism of the fast-food chain that first started in 2012 after CEO Dan Cathy, a conservative Christian, revealed his disapproval of gay marriage.
The company has repeatedly denied any type of discrimination.
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