Olathe East Gathers to Show Support of LGBTQ+ Community


Juniors Monica Diaz, Emerson “Emmy” Glenn, Kennadee Brown hold up a sign at the counter protest. Photo courtsey of Natalie Ren.

Natalie Ren, Staff Writer

In the early morning hours on Thursday, November 4th, students of Olathe East high school gathered at the front of the school in support of LGBTQ+ rights. 

The gathering was organized to combat the Westboro Baptist Church, which had announced its plan to protest gay rights near the grounds of Olathe East at 6:30 am. Westboro Baptist Church is a so-called religious group of peoples, who protest with extremely controversial slogans. 

“Most of us found out Westboro was coming to our school earlier today, and it was actually Ella Koester who had the idea of staging a counter-protest and we hit the ground running,” senior Jylon Hollinshed said. 

The news of the counter-protest spread fast, due to the fast diligent work of multiple Olathe East students.

“Easton Logback made graphics explaining the situation, and we shared those as soon as we got them,” Hollinshed said. 

According to many students who were there, the counter-protest went very well. (Especially since Westboro showed up to the school an hour before they had intended, and avoided the counter-protest almost entirely.)

“I think the protest went great,” Junior Ashley Ratliff said. “It felt like a win for the Olathe East LGBTQ+ community.”

Students were not the only ones who were a part of the counter protest. Multiple teachers were also there to show their support, and make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

“I’m so proud of Olathe East students for fighting for love, not hate.” principal Kerry Lane said. 

Despite the reasons for why the counter-protest was organized, the attitudes of the students were overwhelmingly positive. Students cheered, and held up their handmade signs proudly as cars drove by honking in support. 

“I’m really proud of how our students came together in such a short amount of time, and I’m eager to see all of us fight for what’s good for the community,” Hollinshed said. “So many important things were done in such a short amount of time, and I think we’ve done a good job of rallying together.”