National

In ‘fit of rage,’ dad tore down Gay-Straight Alliance poster at Missouri middle school

Ken Allen stole a Gay-Straight Alliance poster from Smithton Middle School in Columbia, Missouri, in a “fit of rage” because he says the club shouldn’t be allowed. The school board declined to press charges.
Ken Allen stole a Gay-Straight Alliance poster from Smithton Middle School in Columbia, Missouri, in a “fit of rage” because he says the club shouldn’t be allowed. The school board declined to press charges. Screenshot from ABC17

After Ken Allen found out about a Gay-Straight Alliance poster at his daughter’s middle school, the Missouri man says he flew into a “fit of rage.”

Then, Allen says, he tore down the poster because he believes his seventh-grade daughter, Summer Allen, and her classmates at Smithton Middle School in Columbia are too young to be exposed to words like “pansexual” and “transgender,” according to ABC17.

“I think that parents that want to have this conversation with their children should, in the home,” Ken Allen told ABC17. “I think that just like certain other topics, such as religion and Christianity, that perhaps the school, in and of itself, should not be the proper place for this conversation.”

On Monday, Allen attended a Board of Education meeting with the stolen poster, which he took while he was at a parent-teacher conference at his daughter’s school, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

He argued that it is illegal for the school to not notify parents about the club, which is advertised on the school’s website.

But, school district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark told the Tribune that the school is only legally required to inform parents about sexual content in classes — and not a voluntary club that is held after school hours like the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Missouri law says a school must notify parents only about “human sexuality instruction” such as a lesson in health class.

It says that parents must be told about the “basic content” of the lessons — and be granted the right to take their student out of the class.

But Summer says her father has a different opinion on the matter.

“He was giving me information about how (the sign is) verbal sexual harassment,” she told ABC17, “and it’s against the law for them to be doing that.”

Baumstark says the school will not press charges against Allen for stealing the poster, according to the Tribune. But, she said she hopes the theft will be a one-off event.

“You have to be respectful,” Baumstark told the Tribune. “You have to follow our policies while you are in our building.”

Ally 101 workshop brings LBGT students and supporters together

  Comments