"Straight Pride" shirts worn at STC North cause tension

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – Three St. Charles North High School students caused tension in the school after they wore shirts bearing inflammatory language toward gays Monday to protest against a week designed to promote tolerance of different lifestyles, officials said.

St. Charles North and St. Charles East high schools this week are celebrating Ally Week, which is a national event promoting tolerance toward students who are gay, transgendered or bisexual.

District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney said three students showed up Monday at St. Charles North wearing shirts that said “Straight Pride” on the front and quoting a Biblical verse from Leviticus on the back of the shirt referencing death as the punishment for homosexual behavior.

The students were initially called into their deans’ offices after the shirts created tension among the other students, Blaney said. There was then a second discussion with the students.

“The students said their intent was not to intimidate any one or cause physical harm,” Blaney said. “Their intention was to show their pride in being straight.”

The students were not punished. The school and district viewed the incident as a teachable moment, Blaney said.

“They were told that while they had the right to express an opinion and belief, they needed to be sensitive to how that message is perceived by others,” Blaney said.