A gender equality club at Olathe Northwest High School is fighting back after members were subjected to ridicule and taunts from fellow students during the school’s homecoming parade this week.
In a series of tweets, the school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance club for LGBTQ students spoke out against insults hurled at them during Thursday’s parade.
Some students reportedly shouted demeaning remarks toward club members as they walked the parade route. Others threw things at them, booed them and called them derogatory names.
According to KCTV-5, people also allegedly chanted “Make Olathe Northwest straight again.”
District officials told the station students who were involved will be punished and they worked right away to make the victims feel safe.
In response to the insults, club members tweeted on Friday: “We are not afraid. We will continue to fight. No matter what you throw at us. We are here. We don’t want special treatment, we want to be treated like people.”
School district officials reportedly sent letters home with students about the incident. The district’s investigation began immediately, KCTV-5 reported.
Erin Dugan, district assistant superintendent, told the station it will take a community effort to move forward from the incident.
“You’re going to need this community and our families working on this,” Dugan said. “It’s going to take all of us to model acceptance, kindness and compassion and really help our students understand the power of their words and have some really good conversations.”
The Gender-Sexuality Alliance group also tweeted photos of club members and some of the slurs used.
In a statement pinned atop Olathe Northwest’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance twitter profile, the club said the incident would affect some members forever.
“What we experienced (Thursday) will plague the minds of some of us forever,” the statement read. “Walking down the path of our own school and students turned (iit) into a protest rather than a parade.”