The former Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Co-Sponsor at a Cheyenne, Wyoming junior high was notified by email that she is no longer welcome at the school "...due to incidents that have occurred at McCormick...”, KGWN reports.  

 

Kaycee Cook, who also was a substitute teacher at McCormick Junior High School, received the notice after posters were plastered on campus that included hate speech such as, “It’s great to be straight. It’s not okay to be gay” (with a pride flag with a “no” symbol superimposed over it) and “Black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton” and “Join the kkk (the confederate kids club).”

 WyomingSchoolFlyer
Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High School principal Jeff Conine and the Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Dr. Boyd Brown confirmed the incident.

 

According to Conine, the posters were hung in an area of the school that was not visible from the security cameras, so the school is still looking for those who are responsible. The most severe punishment Conine is authorized to give is a 10 day out-of-school suspension.

 

“It’s okay that I can’t substitute teach there anymore, but this is really about the kids and them having a safe person and that’s where I’m hurt. That these kids don’t have a co-sponsor of their GSA," said Cook of the school's decision.

 

Sara Burlingame, Executive Director of Wyoming Equality, said the organization had talked to Conine regarding Cook's dismissal.

 

“I think that that maybe underscores that he is not maybe interested in addressing the issue," said Burlingame. Rather, he’s interested in maybe covering up the issue and punishing people who are bringing it to light and we just need to let him know that that is the wrong response.”

 

"The message from the community has been super unequivocal and super clear: this is unacceptable. It does not reflect the values of Cheyenne. We're not going tolerate this," said Burlingame. "And we're going to show up and support our LGBT youth and our black youth with unwavering pride and support."

 

Wyoming Public Media reports that an eighth grader, who was a member of the school’s GSA, had recently stopped attending meetings because she felt targeted and had been on the receiving end of homophobic slurs.

 

"You would have everyone in the room and just point out that this is not ok. This is not what's supposed to be happening," she said. "We are supposed to be loving and welcoming. This isn't safe. It doesn't make anyone else feel safe, and it's not acceptable.”

 

A report from GLSEN finds that LGBTQ+ students in rural areas experience more harassment than peers in urban areas.

 

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