On Monday as many as 100 students at Lawrence High staged something of a sit-down strike to protest “disrespectful” comments made online and off-campus allegedly by members of the football team. As reported by Darby VanHoutan in the Daily Kansan, the comments were “transphobic” in nature.
The students held signs reading, “I shouldn’t have to be cis to be safe”, “end transphobia at LHS”, “trans rights = human rights”, and others. “Cis,” for the record, is shorthand for “cis-gendered,” meaning someone who identifies with the sex their DNA dictates.
“The entire protest,” senior Rollin Love told VanHoutan, “was purposed around the inaction we as students saw from the administration in dealing with transphobia and discrimination going beyond the group chat.” Apparently, students who saw the comments reported them to administrators who claim they had no authority over speech outside the school. Missing in the Daily Kansan article is any sense of what was said in the online chats or any evidence of actually harassment.
This alleged inaction by the administration prompted the strike and the predictable list of Orwellian demands. The demands include suspension of athletes, mandatory re-education sessions led by an LGBT official, written apology letters, public recognition that “student athletes” were the culprits, and a variety of new inquisitorial procedures to punish future offenders.
If the students seemed to be prepping for future campus agitation, Lawrence High School (LHS) administrators seem to be mimicking the pacification strategies of their university counterparts. Without knowing the content of the online chats, the LHS administrators met essentially all day Monday with protestors to “gather facts.”
According to the aforementioned Mr. Love, administrators promised by day’s end to monitor the content of the online chat, levy appropriate sanctions, practice more transparency with students, and ensure safety. “Soon a safe space will be available with a designated faculty member for anyone fearful of their class environment based on discrimination,” Love told the Kansan in an unwitting burst of self-parody. Whether Trump supporters will get their own safe spaces was left unsaid.