Westboro Baptist Church: Denver schools warned about gay-hating protest -- but will the group actually show?
Last week, we broke the news that the infamously hateful Westboro Baptist Church has announced a three-day-long protest at fifteen Denver metro locations, including events at area high schools during school hours. And students and parents are furious that the homophobes plan to disrupt school activity, prompting a large-scale counter-protest.
But while the WBC is most famous for their hatred of the gay community, America, and pretty much anything, they're also known to be giant gay-bashing flakes. Take, for instance, the group's January plan to crash a gay-marriage debate in Boulder. While anti-WBC protesters turned out in force, representatives of the church didn't.
This has many people wondering if the group will hold true on its word to canvass Denver and Boulder from April 22-24.
It wouldn't be the first time they've planned an event, to the chagrin of mobilized peaceful counter-protesters, and then didn't show. Still, the schools on the hit list and the student behind the growing Facebook event to take on the WBC aren't taking any chances. (See the schedule below).
Kameron Martinez, an eighteen-year-old student at Metro State College in Denver who has planned a counter-protest against the WBC -- the Facebook event has attracted more than 2,400 supposed attendees -- says his group has a game plan if the church doesn't show.
"If they do change up their schedule, if it's too last minute, we'll just continue with our counter-protest and they'll just become rallies," Martinez says. "If they change up their plans with notice in time, we'll just change our plans. They're notorious for doing that."
He says his message, though prompted by the WBC's plan to invade Denver, is one of peace and acceptance, which doesn't require that the haters show. And the fifteen locations targeted by WBC are going full steam ahead with plans to take on protestors.
"Students at CU-Boulder are planning fundraisers, and various (Jewish) temples are planning their own," he says. "As far as I know, they're going to make it. And I've been telling people that there's a large possibility that they won't show, because they know we're ready for them. Either way, we've already won."
Meanwhile, the group has changed its schedule to include Boulder High School, dropping Pomona High School in Arvada, ostensibly to decrease travel time, which suggests they haven't abandoned the Denver-area events.
Why Boulder High School, you ask? There is a reason, however awful and bizarre:
"These students have been raised on a steady diet of God loves everyone, God is a liar and it is okay to be gay," the picket schedule says. "Result: A generation of violent, simple sluts and fornicating clods."
Meanwhile, the principal of Pomoma High School, which was previously first on the group's Colorado picket schedule, isn't taking any chances. He wrote a letter Friday to parents and teachers of the school warning of the WBC's presence.
Check out the letter from Pomona High School Principal Dan Cohan and, after that, the amended WBC protest schedule:
April 9, 2010
Hello Pomona Panthers,
Students, many of you are aware of a protest that is scheduled to happen somewhere near Pomona High School on Thursday, April 22nd and then the next day at Standley Lake High School. We are getting updated daily on this and we still are not sure if indeed it will occur.
However, you should know that the protest is from a very controversial hate group that has demonstrated at various public places and events. I do not know why the Pomona High School or Standley Lake areas have been selected, although other schools have also been named for protests.
We are working with Arvada Police and the Jeffco School District to formulate a plan should the protest become a reality. The law allows protesters to demonstrate on public sidewalks; they would not be allowed to come onto school property.
Like I said, we are getting new information daily, so stay tuned. I will keep you updated and will have more information for you as the date nears. I can assure you we will be safe, we will continue to focus on why we exist -- that is student learning -- and we will do our best to prevent any harassment of our students from this hate group.
I believe whether this protest occurs or not, it will help us reaffirm our core values and beliefs at Pomona High School, the welcoming environment for ALL that we pride ourselves in, and what it means to be a Pomona Panther.
Students, at this point I would also caution you about any quick reactions to this information. Hang in there and we'll talk more next week.
Mr. Cohan Pomona Principal
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2010
-- 2:45 to 3:15 PM ~ Boulder High School in Boulder -- 3:15 to 3:45 PM ~ Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Boulder -- 4:00 to 4:30 PM ~ C.U. Boulder @ 2795 Colorado Ave. -- 7:00 to 7:30 PM ~ Chautauqua Community House (Chautauqua Park & Morning Glory Dr.)
FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2010
-- 6:45 to 7:15 AM ~ Standley Lake High School in Broomfield -- 8:10 to 8:40 AM ~ Denver Academy of Torah (6825 E. Alameda Ave.) -- 9:00 to 9:30 AM ~ International Jewish News (1177 Grant St. [Denver]) -- 9:45 to 10:15AM ~ Mosaic National Jewish Center (2222 S. Albion St. [Denver]) -- 2:50 to 3:20 PM ~ Mountain Range High School in Denver (12500 Huron St.) -- 5:30 to 6:00 PM ~ Hebrew Educational Alliance (3600 S. Ivanhoe St. [Denver]) -- 7:00 to 7:30 PM ~ Comedy Works South (5345 Landmark Pl. [Greenwood Village])
SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2010
-- 8:30 to 9:00 AM ~ Temple Sinai (3509 S. Glencoe St. [Denver]) -- 10:00to 10:30AM ~ Temple Emmanuel (51 Grape St. [Denver]) -- 1:00 to 1:30 PM ~ Jewish Community Center (350 S. Dahlia St. [Denver]) -- 5:00 to 6:00 PM ~ EXDO Event Center (1399 35th St. [Denver])
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.