CLAYSVILLE, Penn. (Christian Examiner) -- School officials have debunked media claims of physical harassment of gays after students at McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania, supposedly resulting from an orchestrated protest to the school-sanctioned observance of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Networks' "Day of Silence" by the local Gay Straight Alliance Club.
National news accounts of the "Anti-Gay Day" protest reported a mob of students attended school clad in flannel shirts with the words "anti-gay" accompanied by a cross on their hands. Moreover, mainstream media promoted allegations of physical bulllying and verbal abuse, and Buzzfeed news repeated a student saying their classmates circulated a "lynch list" and tied a noose to a flag in a classroom.
A response from officials posted on the district website last week asserted that "inaccuracies reported by the media are embellishing the situation," according to The Observer-reporter.
In the statement, which is no longer posted on the district site, officials reported that the district had not authorized the 'Anti-Gay Day.'
"A small group of students, not the hundreds that some reports inflated, exercised their rights as citizens to express their viewpoints. Readers and viewers picked up part of the story from news media, allowed emotion to cloud judgment and initiated a large-scale campaign against our district," the response said.
In a separate statement Kolat added that school administration and police conducted an ongoing investigation which to date found "no witnesses have seen the rumored 'lynch list' that was mentioned in previous news reports. Additionally, no statements have included physical harassment."
The district reportedly is reviewing its bullying and harrasment policies to better the cultural climate for the student body and stated they are committed to providing a safe environment for all McGuffey students.
Last month a Christian-owned pizza shop in Indiana was forced to close when a South Bend ABC affiliate misreported that the small town restaurant was the first business to publicly deny services to same-sex couples. Despite the hypothetical nature of the interview about catering a same-sex wedding, gay activists attacked the family online and in social media and a lesbian teacher in a nearby town threatened to burn down the pizza and ice cream shop.