LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. – Gay slurs and threats were found scrawled across West Lincoln High School’s spirit rock Tuesday. It comes after a week of mounting tension at the school. Conflict started after posters went up announcing meeting times for the new Gay Straight Alliance club.
“They put up posters of GSA meetings, and people who don't like that go around ripping down those posters. Sometimes they put posters saying 'No gays,’” said junior Leonardo Escobar.
The GSA started in the fall semester. The first meeting had ten students, while the second meeting saw double the attendance. It’s the first GSA in Lincoln County.
Much of the tension mounted on social media before manifesting in school hallways and outside at the school spirit rock.
“It is blatant harassment of our kids who are trying to make their school better, and trying to make it safer for all students,” said Rodney Tucker of Time Out Youth, an advocacy group for LGBTQ teens.
Time Out Youth provides assistance to students who’ve requested GSA’s in their schools. Tucker says the clubs promote diversity. Fifteen Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools have Gay Straight Alliances. Gaston County has five. Union and Iredell Counties have two each. Cabarrus has one club.
West Lincoln Principal Dr. Cale Sain is supportive of the school’s new GSA, even acting as the temporary staff advisor. He warns vandals and bullies that the club isn’t going anywhere.
“Absolutely. It’s here to stay,” he said.