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Wheatland Schools Reject Anti–Hate Banners

Wheatland school board members refused a request this week to rehang banners at several schools for an anti-hate campaign according to Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Their reasoning is sponsorship by a gay and lesbian organization. A Wyoming attorney claims this refusal may be unconstitutional.

The Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners were approved by district administrators but were soon taken down due to complaints, despite some students requests to have them remain.

According to board member Joe Fabian, the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage” and Wheatlands community does not approve of this. He also states, “They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle.” Fabian blamed the administrators approval of the banners without the board’s decision and implied that some students suffered discrimination if they were not supportive of the banner.

According to Linda Burt of the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, this refusal is “extraordinarily unfortunate and extraordinarily shortsighted.” She asks, “Does that mean this is a place for hate? Does that mean this is a place for discrimination?” 

“That just sort of underlines that difficulty and lack of acceptance,” Burt said.

The district apparently supported certain parts of the program which teaches tolerance and respecting differences, according to the League. Despite this fact, the schools will no longer be able to participate in the “No Place for Hate” program, said Bruce DeBoskey, Mountain States regional director for the group in Denver. He states, “[The Anti-Defamation League] will no longer allow the program if it’s not being honored and used in its fullest intent.”

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