Idaho Senior Reportedly Banned From Walking at Graduation for Comment About Guys and Girls
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An Idaho high school student has been at the center of controversy after school officials reportedly refused to let him walk at graduation over his comments about sexuality and gender.
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Kellogg High School senior Travis Lohr told KAYU-TV he was disallowed from walking after breaking from his script during an event for underclassmen last week.
Lohr’s comments reportedly ignited a firestorm.
“Guys are guys and girls are girls; there is no in-between,” Lohr reportedly said, telling the outlet he didn’t mean to offend. “I think a lot of people thought that my statement was against people or against groups, and it wasn’t targeted at any groups.”
According to the Shoshone News Press, the assembly where Lohr, 18, spoke was intended to “impart words of wisdom” to younger students at the high school.
The school district isn’t able to discuss details of the incident involving Lohr due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
But the Shoshone News Press reported some school staff and others have purportedly indicated students were told they couldn’t place “slurs or racial remarks” in their addresses — and had to follow other protocols.
Student statements were reportedly vetted, and seniors were implored not to deviate from those approved scripts. Lohr thus landed in the crosshairs for deciding to say something not in his prepared remarks, though the teen said in at least one interview his comments weren’t vetted beforehand.
The Shoshone News Press also alleged Lohr was part of a senior prank involving toilet paper, a dead turkey, and messaging being scrawled on brick walls; that prank landed him and other students in district crosshairs prior to this latest incident.
“They informed me that they think I’m going to have an outburst at graduation. I get the senior prank thing — but that was more of a group thing,” he told the outlet. “I haven’t had a problem all year. I just think my message was taken the wrong way.”
As it turns out, some students at Kellogg High School defended Lohr and reportedly walked out and staged protests after he was told he wouldn’t be able to walk at graduation due to the comments.
One video showing community members coming out supporting Lohr included signs that read “Tolerance goes both ways,” with people chanting, “Let him walk! Let him walk!”
The situation was so contentious Kellogg School District Superintendent Lance Pearson initially postponed Saturday’s graduation out of concern for student safety before meeting with students and families covertly Friday night and quietly moving forward with Saturday’s ceremony.
A June 2 statement posted before Saturday’s graduation said the Kellogg School District had received notice from the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office there were concerns “regarding the safety of students, staff and families due to several outside groups and agitators.”
“We regret having to make this very difficult decision,” the statement continued. “But the safety of our staff, students, their families and local law enforcement is our top priority.”
Lohr later told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” he didn’t get to walk at the ceremony despite protests aimed at overturning the decision. “For this to happen over what I said … it seems as though people speak like I did, and the way that I did, it’s not right,” he said. “It seems frowned upon. You can be punished for it.”
Lohr said over the weekend he also lost a job fighting wildland forest fires due to the uproar.
On a related note, a school bus driver named Dakota Mailloux was also reportedly fired from his job for showing up to the protest in support of Lohr.
“On Friday, June 2, a United States veteran, Dakota, on his own time, brought his American flag and attended a peaceful protest at a high school in Kellogg, Idaho, because a senior was denied the right to walk in graduation the day before due to a statement the student made in the school assembly to other peers,” a GiveSendGo crowdfunding description reads. “While at the protest, Dakota, a beloved Shoshone County school bus driver, was called by his boss, asked where he was at the moment, and then told him to come to the office immediately and was fired.”
The fundraiser for Mailloux has so far brought in over $3,600.
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