Middle School Students Disrupt Pride Event, Tear Down Decor

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A Massachusetts middle school was excited to kick off a major “Pride” celebration with gobs of rainbow decorations and festivities. However, the event was promptly halted when a group of students stormed into the event and wrecked their plans.

Students ruined a Pride event at Marshall Simonds Middle School. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Parents and faculty members are at war after a multitude of students disrupted a school-wide “Pride” festival at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington, Massachusetts. The incident occurred after staff members had announced a spirit day in which the school’s Spectrum Club decorated the facilities with Pride flags, handed out rainbow stickers, and encouraged students to wear rainbow clothing.

Throughout the day, countless students protested the display, tearing down banners and signs while expressing their disdain for the event. Boston.com reports that a school letter claimed some students were “being inappropriate” with the stickers and destroying the handmade decorations in the halls.

Marshall Simonds Middle School
Marshall Simonds Middle School (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Computer sciences teacher Diana Marcus grieved that the protest was effective, discouraging students from flaunting their rainbow clothing and stickers. Once students saw some of their peers ripping off the rainbow stickers and throwing them on the ground, others began to follow suit, the New York Post reported.

“Over the course of the day you could actually see a reduction in the number of students walking around in rainbow-colored clothing. It was really tough.” Marcus said, adding that the protest appeared planned. “Middle school students pick up on all this stuff. They may seem socially unaware, but our most vulnerable students are very aware of the situation around them. It was very clear that those students were not feeling supported.”

The school’s letter accused students of trying to “intimidate” faculty and students showing support for Pride by “glaring” at them and chanting “USA are my pronouns!” Many wore red, white, and blue clothing or all black to protest the event. Some even allegedly painted their faces in opposition to Pride.

Students stormed the halls, tearing down Pride decorations and chanting “USA are my pronouns!” (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The school lamented the protest, calling it “unacceptable” and “demeaning.” Principal Cari Perchase decried the dissenters and profusely apologized to the LGBTQ+ supporters.

“When one individual or group of individuals’ beliefs and actions result in the demeaning of another individual or group, it is completely unacceptable. I am truly sorry that a day meant for you to celebrate your identity turned into a day of intolerance. Schools are supposed to be a safe place for ALL students and faculty. Some community members’ actions created an unsafe environment for many of our students, caregivers, and faculty,” she wrote.

In a desperate bid to atone, the school orchestrated a time during which students could voice their trauma and even fill out “hateful incident” forms to anonymously report on their classmates. The school also plans to incorporate a program to re-educate students to tolerate, accept, and respect all genders and sexual identities.

Marshall Simonds Middle School
The school admitted that once LGBTQ+ supporting students saw the other students boldly voicing their opposition, they too began ditching their rainbow gear. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Burlington Public Schools Superintendent Eric Conti also denounced the protest, warning that such expressions have “no place in our schools.” The school board has opted to spend $20,000 for diversity, inclusion, and equity training.

“Like any spirit day celebration at MSMS, participation is optional. Respectful behavior across the entire student body, however, is non-negotiable,” he wrote.

Parents supporting the LGBTQ+ community have called on the school to discipline all students who participated in the protest.

“Could you use this as a teachable moment to show the kids who counter-protested Pride that they can take responsibility for their actions and still become allies?” one parent asked the select board.

Marshall Simonds Middle School
Some parents and faculty members are demanding punishment for the protesters, but many others are backing the students. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

While some want to see the student protesters punished, many others are backing them for standing up against an institution that is pushing a particular view upon them. The faculty members are saying that students have a right to their opinion but, in the same breath, are calling them intolerant and phobic for expressing it.

Despite the school’s claim that participation in the event was optional, students were expected to keep quiet while their school was flooded with only one viewpoint. While these students were bold enough to take a stand, they cannot institute change by themselves. It’s time for parents and community members who agree with them to take a stand as well.