Wheatland, the town that time forgot

And maybe it’s a good thing.

Reminds me of the underground community in A Boy and His Dog

From the Denver Post:

Wyoming school district bans Anti-Defamation League’s anti-hate banners

By Susan Greene
Denver Post Columnist

Posted: 02/23/2010 01:00:00 AM MST

Wheatland is a community of about 3,400 in southeast Wyoming, with a school board dominated by dolts.

Platte County School District No. 1 has banned anti-hate banners because the signs were co-sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado.

“We’re a conservative community. We don’t need extremist organizations coming in propagating their liberal views,” said dance studio owner Joe Fabian, a school board trustee.

Starting in 2008, an elementary and a high school in the district signed up for “No Place for Hate,” a project run by the Anti-Defamation League in Colorado and Wyoming. The initiative works to “enhance the appreciation of diversity and foster harmony amongst diverse groups,” its mission states, and to “empower schools to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry.”

Subversive stuff, huh?

As a reward for participating, the ADL provided 3-foot-by-6-foot banners bearing the schools’ names, the words “No Place for Hate” and acknowledgments to the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, as well as to Qwest and the David and Laura Merage Foundation, the two other major sponsors.

Concerned presumably that the mere mention of the words “gay and lesbian” could sway students’ sexual orientations, the district ordered the principals of both schools to remove the banners. Trustees voted 4-3 to back that decision.

Fabian, who was part of the majority vote, takes issue not just with the Gay and Lesbian Fund but also with the ADL, a Jewish organization. He figures both groups threaten to erode the rectitude of his community.

“We have a different moral standard here,” he said, apparently sensing my green horns over the phone. “We don’t need people coming in promoting premarital sex, extramarital sex and all other kinds of belief systems.”

Principal Maureen Ryff approved “No Place for Hate” at Wheatland High School. “Not in my wildest dreams,” she said, did she think the district would usurp her decision.

The ADL has dropped the district from its program, saying it makes no exceptions for homophobia.

Wheatland, it is worth noting, is about 90 minutes northeast of Laramie, a town notorious for the 1998 beating death of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man. The Denver-based Matthew Shepard Foundation decries the school district’s decision.

There’s more at the Denver Post

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