Students at Lee’s Summit High School in Missouri staged a walkout on Monday to protest the school’s response to claims of the harassment and bullying of an LGBTQ+ student.
Senior Danny Lillis, who is gay, had previously gone to school officials after he alleges he and his friends were targeted for bullying by another group of students. Lillis told the Kansas City Star that he went to school officials four times regarding the incidents, but that “nothing changed.”
The allegations of bullying culminated in a fight last Wednesday between the other students and one of Lillis’ friends, Malani Hohlbaugh who, her mother told the Kansas City Star, had “had enough” of the harassment.
“Every single time that this happened, our kids have gone to student administration and reported it,” her mother said. “There is supposed to be a zero tolerance policy for bullying, but nobody is doing anything about [this]. They haven’t gotten the help that they needed.”
In an email to the Kansas City Star, District Spokeswoman Katy Bergen declined to comment on specifics of the case, but said that “all forms of bullying are prohibited in [Lee’s Summit]. We investigate all complaints of bullying that we receive.”
Following the altercation, a Change.org petition began circulating that calls on the school to do more to protect LGBTQ+ students, and to enforce the school’s zero tolerance policy for bullying. It also calls on school administrators, who had previously suspended all students involved in the fight, to reverse the suspension for the alleged victims, arguing that they should not be punished in the same way as their harassers.
Students also staged the walkout on Monday to show support to Lillis and his friends, which a local Fox News affiliate reports lasted from 9:45 to 10:20. They carried signs in support of Lillis and shouted, “We need to be heard.”
To date, the petition had received almost 4,000 signatures.