Activists allege ‘culture of hatred’ at John Jay High School after anti-LGBTQ incidents

Just last month, teens held a walk-out to support their LGBTQ peers after backlash over transgender students using bathrooms for the gender they identify with.

Blaise Gomez

Apr 9, 2024, 8:30 PM

Updated 39 days ago

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Activists say there is a “culture of hatred” at John Jay High School in East Fishkill after a series of alleged incidents aimed at LGBTQ students.
One student allegedly had the word “gay” spray-painted on their car. Another was allegedly singled out by a classmate in an online petition for being transgender and falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
Parent activists with Defense of Democracy are exposing what they say are the back-to-back hate-fueled incidents. The group released a TikTok video saying, the “bullying will not be tolerated.”
Just last month, teens held a walk-out to support their LGBTQ peers after backlash over transgender students using bathrooms for the gender they identify with.
“We are parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ kids who simply want our kids to be safe enough at schools that they can learn and grow up,” says KK Naimool, with Queer Family Network.
Parents spoke out about the bullying concerns at a district board meeting on Monday.
“We do not want to allow hate to fester,” said a parent of a transgender student. “I ask the district be an example of a safe, inclusive, compassionate diverse institution that can be used as a model for districts across the nation.”
The district isn’t the only one navigating recent reaction to conflicting views.
Gender-neutral bathrooms caused an uproar for high school students who had privacy concerns in Clarkstown in January.
Activists say the backlash is based on intolerance and shouldn’t be allowed.
“Being transgender is a real condition. It’s not something made up to cheat at sports or be given legal access to bathrooms,” said another district resident who said they identify as a transgender woman.
Several students also expressed support of their LGBTQ classmates in a Defense of Democracy TikTok video saying, “I stand with the students at John Jay High School,” and “bullying is never OK.”
The Wappingers Central School District released the following statement:
"The District handles all disciplinary issues in accordance with the Code of Conduct. The safety of ALL of our students remains our top priority. Any time a complaint is made to the building administration, it is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly," said Wappinger Central School District Superintendent Dr. Dwight Bonk. "The District follows all State and Federal statutes included the Dignity for All Students Act and Title IX, and will continue to do so to provide a safe environment for all."


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