Anti-gay message spray painted on St. Charles North

Published: Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 5:30 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles North High School continued to confront anti-homosexual sentiments this week when staff discovered derogatory remarks about gays spray painted on the building, according to a St. Charles police report.

A school administrator notified police on Tuesday of the black and brown graffiti, which reportedly was on the school's northwest side near the athletics wing at 255 Red Gate Road.

The graffiti was removed easily and did not cause damage, according to the report. Staff told police no other graffiti was found on school grounds.

The school turned the investigation over to the police, which is normal protocol in such situations, District 303 spokesperson Jim Blaney said.

The vandalism follows last week's controversy of three students wearing "Straight Pride" shirts that quoted a Bible verse that referenced death as the punishment for homosexual behavior.

Other students came to school later in the week wearing similar shirts that omitted the Bible reference.

Blaney said it is not evident whether there is a correlation between the vandalism and shirts.

More than 150 Facebook users – presumably mostly North students – have said they will attend next month's Board of Education meeting to address the shirts and how the administration handled the situation. The student who created the event has said students want better plans in action for how to deal with such situations.

Coincidentally, the school board's Policy Committee on Thursday night discussed an amendment to its bullying policy that would forbid district employees and students from harassing or intimidating students based on their "gender-related identity or expression."

The proposed changes also prohibit harassment based on a student's "association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics."

Blaney said the changes would have been discussed regardless of the recent activities at North because the board is trying to more closely align its policies with the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The committee took no action on the changes because they wanted clarification on the definition of "gender-related identity" since harassment based on a student's "gender identity"  already is included in the policy, Blaney said.

The "Straight Pride" shirts were not included in the discussion, board President Scott Nowling said.

He noted, however, that the committee struggled with what a student's "association" could mean. He said he gave the example of straight students being bullied for their participation in the Gay-Straight Alliance.

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