West Point schools, police respond to planned Westboro Baptist Church protest


Westboro Baptist Church has announced they plan to protest outside of West Point High School March 11.

The church, out of Topeka, Kan., is known for its rallies and posters featuring slurs against the LGBTQ community and picketing at soliders’ funerals.

The church has a listing on its picket schedule to protest from 7:10-7:45 a.m March 11 at West Point High School. The group will move to the State Capitol and Virginia Commonwealth University later in the morning, according to the church’s website.

The church said it will protest against the firing of former West Point High French teacher Peter Vlaming. He was was fired in December after being found insubordinate for refusing to follow a direct order by the administration to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun in class.

Division Superintendent Laura Abel and West Point Police Chief Tim Sawyer sent a joint statement via email to parents Friday night addressing the church’s planned protest.

They assured parents that, “The school division and the West Point Police Department are working together to develop plans that ensure student and staff safety on March 11 and minimize disruptions to the beginning of the school day. Protesters will not be permitted on school division property.

“While details are still being determined, please be assured that the school division and the police department are taking necessary security precautions. As we get closer to the event, we will alert you to any changes that may need to be made to the start of the regular school day.”

Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, aluck@tidewaterreview.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette