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Reader praises protesting students

As a teacher of civics, an elected official and a member of the LGBTQ community, Mr. (Cody) Thompson was wrong to condemn students protesting a mural at Mill Creek. Mr. Thompson, those students’ rights do not end where yours begin.

Students have led the way on protests, challenging the complacency of established politicians standing silently while we move towards the point where it will be too late to reverse.

Instead of demeaning those students, Mr. Thompson should have applauded them for their courage and dedication to challenge what they deemed a threat to their lifestyle.

Mr. Thompson, those students have the right to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. These rights unquestionably include the right of students to speak out and protest about their view of any lifestyle.

A lifestyle which is falling most heavily on those who are the nation’s youngest today.

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t think it’s wrong or whatever to be within the LGBTQ community. In fact, I support you if you are.

I also don’t think that it’s bad to display your pride to be a part of that community. That’s great! I support that! Go to pride marches and wear that rainbow with pride! I love that. I also support those who disagree and want their opinions and their flag displayed.

But I do have a problem with people thinking that being gay, or bi, or whatever else you wanna call it, makes you special. Newsflash, it doesn’t. Nobody gives two cents who you like. That makes you no different from every other person around you. And in general it makes you look like someone seeking attention in desperate, obvious and inappropriate ways.

I support people in the LGBTQ community, you can do whatever, I don’t care. Just don’t be weird about it, please.

Local high schoolers have taken the issue of rights personally. And rightly so. The phrase “gay pride” is now ingrained in our national vocabulary; how could our teenagers possibly stand idly by?

In high school, students should be taught calculus, U.S. history, literature and physics. They should be taught how to write analytical essays and lab reports. But they also have to be taught how to think and feel and be proud and involved citizens of wherever they live. I believe it is our duty to teach them the latter just as much as the former.

In conclusion: This was a failure of school leadership. Mr. Wamsley, as the chief administrator at Tygart Valley High School, you should have known about the mural and said no.

The first time that people should be trying to talk about a controversial issue should not be when controversy has exploded within the school. That’s not when people are going to be at their best, for all sorts of reasons.

Instead, it’s important to have these types of conversations happening as a regular part of the school experience. I hold the Randolph County School Board and Mr. Wamsley accountable. You knew all along it wasn’t about drugs.

Good day!

Robert Ware

French Creek

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