Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wheatland School Officials: Leave Us Alone, Outsiders! (and all the people in Wheatland who also think we're wrong...)

So the anti-anti-hate contingent in Wheatland is getting fed up with the national attention.  They can't be happy about the local attention they are receiving either--student and community dissent within and around Wheatland that should come as no surprise to those familiar with Wyoming culture and politics.  While I alluded in an earlier post to a creeping Colorado-style evangelical conservatism making its way into the state, and while some Wyomingites who were ignorant before 1999 are still ignorant, there are plenty of people in the Cowboy State who, regardless of political affiliation (quasi-Christian dominionists excluded) will stand up for coexistence and (though this may not be good enough all the time) tolerance. 

Of course, I also alluded to Wyoming stubbornness in a previous post.  Sometimes that stubbornness is so thick that no real deliberation seems able to pass through it.  Take the comments from Wheatland school superintendent about who, exactly, he has heard from in Wheatland.
Stuart Nelson, the superintendent, said the only negative comments he has heard about the board's decision are from out-of-towners, special-interest groups and former residents. He said all the local parents he's spoken with have supported the board's decision.

Not even that insensitive, arrogant claim can get through the reality gate. Three board members, after all, voted the other way; Wheatland High Principal Maureen Ryff has made no secret that she disagrees with the decision; the article points out that "On lockers at WHS and a gymnasium door are 'No Place for Hate' fliers that students printed and posted" and the article contains quotes from residents of Wheatland who disagree with the decision. That makes Nelson's comments especially irresponsible and, pardon my blatancy, stupid.  He's either not listening, or he's being dishonest with the media.  Neither trait will deliver a better image for Wheatland. 


Meg Lanker said...

He should listen to my show too.

I've added him to the list for a CD.


Tom Leonard said...

Actually I am impressed that the school board vote was that close. Wheatland is never going to be a leader in any progressive cause. The three school board members who voted for leaving the banners should be congratulated and be made to feel that the community is behind them. When is the next school board election in Wheatland?

Meg Lanker said...

This November, actually. A contributer is encouraging all WHS seniors of voting age to let the board know how they feel at the ballot box. I almost want to move to Wheatland so I can help vote those people out.