Hundreds of students at Oak Park High School in Kansas City are being praised by their community after they stood up to the Westboro Baptist Church and shut down one of the hate group’s infamous protests.
Westboro members showed up at a gas station near the school Thursday afternoon to protest last month’s crowning of Oak Park’s transgender homecoming queen Landon Patterson, and were surprised to be met with the giant counter-protest, KCUR reports.
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In video of the incident, high schoolers are seen walking behind the defeated Westboro clan as they were escorted to their car by police. Some students, holding signs with pro-trans messages, were chanting “long live the queen.”
“Everybody says, ’Let’s not give them attention,'” said protest organizer Katie Eyer, a 2010 Oak Park graduate. “But everybody will want to be here, so why not have it organized? Because everybody was going to counter-protest no matter what.”
Eyer said district officials urged her not to organize the protest over fear it may turn violent.
“This isn’t just about supporting Landon, this is about supporting all our students,” fellow organizer Christina Palermo said. “Landon is just their scapegoat. They’re attacking everyone in the LGBT community.”
Palermo added that she hoped the protest made Patterson and other LGBT teens feel supported by their community.