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Anti-LGBTQ student note circulating at southern Illinois high school

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A note for an “anti-queer association” is circulating in the Anna-Jonesboro High School in Anna.

The note, which claims to be “represented by the students of AJCHS.” It was written as a ballot, asking other students if they wanted “queers” to go to the bathroom or “I don’t want queer kids to go to the bathroom with us normal people.”

When contacted, the school district stated that they had become aware of the note on Wednesday morning and it was being investigated.

“I cannot give any information regarding students or discipline but can tell you that this type of harassment is taken seriously and will not be tolerated and once the investigation is complete, appropriate discipline will take place where warranted,” said Rob Wright, superintendent for Anna-Jonesboro High School District 81.

Locals had said a school board meeting on Monday was attended by parents upset over transgender students using restrooms for their gender. We are still working on getting details on the meeting and Wright said that school board meetings are not video recorded.

The Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Youth Center called on the school board to take immediate action to support LGBTQ students.

“The exclusion of trans and queer students from using the bathrooms that align with their gender identity is not only unethical, but is unlawful,” the Carbondale-based center said in a statement. “Additionally, the survey circulating from the ‘Anti Queer Association’ is clearly bullying behavior, and only serves to harm and further marginalize queer students.”

The center said that LGBTQ students deserve a safe learning environment and that by remaining silent, administration and staff were “willfully contributing” to discrimination against queer students.

This is third anti-LGBTQ event in southern Illinois in the past couple of weeks. Last week, Belleville students stayed home from school because of a threat that used an anti-gay slur. On Oct. 12, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), who represents the area, was the co-sponsor of a bill that would bar Veterans Affairs from providing gender-affirming care to veterans.

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