CAMAS, Wash. (KOIN) — Officials at Camas High School believe its production of “The Laramie Project” caused several Christian protesters to show up at the school Tuesday with signs and bullhorns telling students they were “sinners” and to “repent.”
“The Laramie Project,” which runs from Nov. 3 until Nov. 12, shares the story of Matthew Shepard — a homosexual student from the University of Wyoming — who was brutally murdered in 1998.
Read the principal’s letter below
Parents who were there said the handful of protesters were yelling homophobic slurs and calling the students “sinners.”
Kristen Hansen, whose daughter and son attend Camas High, saw the group when she picked up her kids.
“There were protesters holding large signs and using bullhorns telling children that they were sinners and that they were going to hell,” Hansen said. “It was infuriating to me because that is not acceptable to say to any child.”
The protesters continued to express their religious beliefs until all the buses left. The identities of the protesters are currently unknown.
They kept saying, “Repent, you are all sinners,” and “You are all sinners, you must come to the Lord,” according to Hansen.
After Tuesday’s incident, Principal Liza Sejkora sent a letter to Camas High parents explaining what happened in case students had any questions.
According to the letter, the school’s security team, administrators and the school resource officer were on site to make sure the protesters stayed on the public sidewalk and away from students.
Despite the incident Tuesday, Hansen had only positive things to say about Camas High school.
“It is so inclusive. It’s a wonderful school. Security was on it in a minute and had police out there in one minute. The protesters stayed on the sidewalk, which they knew they had to do, but the police were there to make sure they didn’t approach any students,” Hansen said.
High school junior Brynna Hansen said many students wore rainbow colored clothes and brought signs to show their support for the play and LGBTQ students on Wednesday.
However, a smaller minority drew straight arrows on their arms — to symbolize their heterosexuality.
According to Brynna, she saw about 30 people with the arrows — most of whom were “white teenage men.”
“There’s some tension between some of the more intolerant kids and the people that support the LGBTQ community and the children in the LGBTQ community,” Brynna said.
Also on Wednesday, Hansen made her own signs and counter protested outside the school.
“I stood like this, to just stand there and give my support of all the students at Camas that they are absolutely loved no matter way,” Hansen said.
This afternoon there were two individuals expressing their religious beliefs, via signs and a bullhorn, across from the Camas High School bus parking area as students were leaving for the day. This event created a commotion and, unfortunately, some strong feelings and expletives were expressed.
The CHS security team, administrators, and the School Resource Officer were on site ensuring the visitors stayed on the public sidewalk away from students. The visitors left after the CHS students departed.
This protest was likely brought to our campus in response to the CHS drama department’s presentation of The Laramie Project—the story of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual student from the University of Wyoming, who was brutally murdered in 1998. To learn more about why we selected The Laramie Project, read Director Sean Kelly’s notes.
We want you to have context about the incident today in case your student(s) have questions.