Local Parents Upset over Gay Rights Demonstration

Millbrook, Al. (WSFA) --When sixth grader Taylor Wynn found out about the "Day of Silence," a national observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered rights, she didn't know what to think.

"I thought it was just being respectful of the person who died," she explained.

The demonstration--held at schools across the country--honored Lawrence King, 15, shot February at a California school by a fellow student.

He later died.  Friends say another boy targeted him because he was gay.

Wynn's mother Connie found out students in Millbrook were planning to silently protest during class at the middle school and Stanhope Elmore High.

Participants brought notes for teachers, explaining that they couldn't say a thing.

It's just one step, Wynn says, in a loaded protest.

"There's more to this than meets the eye [. . .] by just saying 'no' you're supporting a homosexual movement," she said.

Not so, according to L.G.B.T. rights group Equality Alabama.  Board member Rhonda Thomason says the "Day of Silence" highlights the need for equal treatment and an end to discrimination.

"Whether you agree with gay issues or not, I think we agree that we want all students to be safe," Thomason explained.

Either way, parents say silence in school can cause serious problems.

"The purpose of that student being there is null," said Robert Wynn, Taylor's father.

While school administrators acknowledge parents' concerns, they say the day went off without a hitch.

They tell WSFA 12 News the demonstration didn't disrupt classes in any way.

"No one was disrespectful or did not respond to a teacher.  They just had no interaction with other kids," explained Susan Jones, principal at Stanhope Elmore High School.

Still, parents say they're worried about the subject matter.

"I see it as a way to get the children to view this lifestyle as normal," said Connie Wynn.

That's a fact both sides can agree on.

"We want them to understand each other and we want them to be safe," Thomason explained.