A bulletin board promoting transgender equality was removed by school officials in Marshall, Michigan in what some students are calling an attempt to silence them, WWMT reports.
According to members of the Gay Straight Alliance — who created the bulletin board to celebrate Transgender Visibility Day — the district removed it not because of a two-week limit on bulletin board space, but because a group of parents on Facebook complained about its content.
Kate Samra, the President of the Gay Straight Alliance, told WWMT that “this was surrounding a Facebook incident surrounding a mother that was very upset. She thought it was inappropriate for the school setting and that it didn’t exhibit Christian values.”
“I met with the principal of my school today and he said he felt like the situation needed to be diffused, so that’s why he did take the board down,” Samra said.
Marshall’s superintendent, Randy Davis, acknowledged that parental complaints did play a role in the removal of the bulletin board.
“We have had complaints once in a while from a parent about that,” he said. “In our environment, it doesn’t feel like there’s any controversy at all; in the world of Facebook, it seems like it’s on fire.”
“The parents expressed concern about our practice of allowing groups with alternative lifestyles to openly display posters in the school,” he further explained in an email to The Battle Creek Enquirer. “The administration underscored student rights to freedom of speech and equal access. The meeting was a reaction to our practice, and not the reason for changing the bulletin board.”
On Monday night, students simultaneously protested the bulletin board’s removal and celebrated Transgender Visibility Day. Members of the Gay Straight Alliance painted a rock as a means of showing that the students of the school stood behind their transgender peers:
— Allison Brownell (@Cats_or_die) March 31, 2015
As Riley Moreau told The Enquirer, “it seemed like they were speaking for the student body, like we didn’t accept transgender people or we’re that close-minded. And it’s not true. This is an act of solidarity to show them that they matter, they’re a part of us.”
Watch a report on the controversy via WWMT below.