Vandalized GSA Posters
February 20, 2017
Posters hung up around Waukee High School advertise clubs, fundraisers, and events. Helpful information can be found on every student’s walk to their next class. Though these posters are typically appreciated, recently a few papers have seen disrespect.
“There has been some anonymous backlash to the posters (vandalism, destroying, ripping up the posters), but I hope that we keep the positivity of our original message by not becoming discouraged or angered by this and instead just keep replacing the posters (which I will be doing soon again) just to let everyone know that we have a meaningful message that won’t be silenced by those who don’t agree,” stated senior Conner Johnson.
Posters with phrases such as “bisexuality is a real sexuality” and “I’m not a ‘lesser human being’” can be found around the Waukee High School, created by the school’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance).
“We made them to try to spread more awareness and understanding throughout the high school. We’ve been aware of some comments that people have been getting in GSA, just like some ignorant things about sexuality and gender orientation [and] stuff like that. We tried to make posters that intrigue people to come to the group, or contact one of us and ask questions about it,” told senior Julia Fett. Phrases like “There is no such thing as a gay agenda” and “don’t assume someone is straight” adorn hallways until taken down by other students.
“I didn’t know how the posters would be received, because this is one of the most visible things we’ve done as a club in my 3 years of being in it. I hoped that they would be welcomed though, even if there might be some backlash. I hope that we are creating a more tolerant and informed community at school by trying to dispel the common myths surrounding the LGBT community,” commented Conner Johnson of GSA. Created by the group of students, these posters had positive intentions.
“We spent a day hanging them [the posters] up and everything, and people just started taking them down like writing stuff on them. We have found multiple ones [torn down or written on], and we have had to take them to the principal, counselor, teachers and stuff. There was written stuff like ‘get out of here, f*gs’ so that was fun,” explained sophomore Molly Belvo. Papers being stapled over the GSA posters have been found as well. By now, hardly any are left, and GSA intends to handle the situation peacefully.
“[We are]Not entirely sure at the moment. We might make more, we might just print off more, revise a few of them,” responds Belvo when asked about the aftermath. “I honestly don’t know why [someone would vandalize them], they’re [the posters are] not doing anything there. They’re just sitting on a wall. I just don’t see why.” Cary Justmann, principal to Waukee High School, has dealt with cases of vandalism before, and unfortunately, will again.
“When we were first approached about this issue, we studied the internal cameras to try to narrow down a time that it was occurring and possibly identify who was doing it and didn’t come up with any conclusive information. However, we have talked as an administrative team and with other adults in the building about being observant for any vandalism – not specific to the GSA posters, but general vandalism,” stated Justmann. GSA will continue to leave their mark on the walls of WHS, and promote tolerance and safety for all.