A student in Pennsylvania created a Pride mural that was approved but then painted over, and a church that accepts LGBT people faces harassment in New Jersey.
Student’s Pride Flag Mural Gets Painted Over
Pennsylvania high school student Oliver Bryant was ambushed when he saw his half-finished mural painted over.
After receiving approval from Chambersburg Area High School’s principal to have a rainbow Pride flag painted in the ninth-grade hallway, Bryant didn’t understand why the school did not notify him.
“It was definitely a punch in the face when I walked up and saw it,” said Bryant according to CBS Local 21 News.
Bryant’s reasoning for the mural was to show that life is not always black and white. The rainbow colors, according to him, symbolize acceptance.
Yet, at the recent school board meeting, some parents agreed with the school’s decision to get rid of Bryant’s mural.
“There is no need for that in school. There is no need for a focus on sexual preference in the school,” said Kristen Simmons, a parent.
Chambersburg Area High School put out a statement saying that they’ve heard the “differing community concerns” and will “make sure that any murals or other permanent changes to the district’s buildings are approved consistent with an established process.”
Church Members Question Safety As Harassment Continues
Burnt rainbow flag on Jan. 1. Photo via Reconciling Ministries Network, Facebook.
Harassment has continued at New Jersey’s Sparta United Methodist Church after two rainbow Pride flags were burned and voicemails were left.
The church has faced criticism in the past for showing its support and hospitality to the LGBT community.
“It is a rainbow flag, we are an open congregation, and we welcome all people,” said Rev. Steve Bechtold to the NJ Advance Media.
Bechtold said that the church has spare flags in storage since this is not a first-time occurrence. Previously, LGBT flags have been burned, stolen, or tampered with in the past few years, but now the church is receiving displeased voicemails.
“They call late at night, they call at times when it would be very unlikely that anybody would answer the phone,” he said.
The reverend said the incident has raised safety concerns amongst LGBT members.
This flag-burning incident is different because two young adult males were caught on surveillance, said Sussex County Sheriff Michael F. Strada in a statement. Through CrimeStoppers, there is a $1,000 reward for anyone who identifies the suspect(s).