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Massachusetts middle school students stage protest over pride event, destroy rainbow decorations

"U.S.A. are my pronouns," they reportedly chanted.

Published: June 13, 2023 6:00pm

Students at a Massachusetts middle school staged a protest against the school's pride month celebrations during which they tore down rainbow-themed decorations and reportedly chanted, "USA are my pronouns."

The Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington had intended to host a pride celebration on June 2, but numerous students felt obligated to participate after being asked to wear rainbow clothing, according to the Daily Mail. They further indicated they were offended by a poster that included a quote from author Tennessee Williams seemingly implying that humans are not naturally heterosexual.

"What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains," reads the Williams quote, which was included on a poster of people holding rainbow flags.

The demonstration drew harsh condemnation from the school district's administrators.

Principal Cari Perchase indicated to local outlet WHDH that "groups of students were heard chanting, 'U.S.A are my pronouns,' and students glared intimidatingly at faculty members showing pride... Students were shamed into removing their stickers or covering their clothing with rainbows."

Perchase further said that she had received feedback suggesting the demonstration was a response to the school's failure to observe Memorial Day. The school has since apologized to its students for what it deemed an "oversight."

Superintendent Eric Conti issued a more pointed statement, stressing that student participation in the pride event had been optional and accusing the demonstrators of homophobia and seemingly attributing their actions to their religious, moral, or cultural upbringings. 

"I recognize that discussions and celebrations of individual identity are complex and impacted by individual values, religions, and cultural norms, the result of which may include expressions of racism, anti-religious hate, ableism, and in this case homophobia," he wrote.

Just the News has sought comment from Conti on this statement.

He further wrote in a letter to parents that the district is "obligated to provide a safe environment for all students to feel safe, seen and respected without retaliation."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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