Protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church are expected to be outside two area high schools Monday morning. The group plans on protesting outside Clayton and Ft. Zumwalt East High Schools. Westboro activists are known for targeting gay and lesbians with messages of hate and protesting outside the funerals of soldiers.
They are apparently coming to Clayton in response to a visit last year from Nathan Phelps, son of Westboro founder Fred Phelps.
Nathan Phelps disowned his family over their hate filled beliefs and spoke to students in March of 2011 about his experiences.
He was invited to speak by the Gay Straight Alliance at Clayton High School.
Clayton School District officials plan on shutting down parts of Topton Way around the school and limit access to their parking lot to students and staff.
The district says it has plans in place to keep kids safe.
The protestors are not allowed on school property but they can be on sidewalks outside school property.
Ft. Zumwalt school district learned on Friday they were also a target for a Monday morning protest. The district made automated phone calls to parents advising them that the best course of action is to ignore the protestors.
The message also told parents extra staff and police would be on the parking lot assisting students.
Some parents feel the district should do more.
Stacy Guerra is the parent of a lesbian student at Ft. Zumwalt East.
“These protests can get out of line at anytime on either side,” said Guerra. “There are children involved and it’s sickening.”
Jacki Brown is the parent of a lesbian daughter who goes to school in a different district. Brown plans on showing up at Ft. Zumwalt on Monday to show her support.
“This kids are being bullied and they should not be subject to this while they are at school,” said Brown.
She said her daughter has been ridiculed at school and worries that other students might have lasting scars from Monday’s planned protest.
Guerra says her daughter plans on going to school Monday saying she didn’t care what the protestors said. She was not about to fall behind in her studies.
The Missouri and Southern Illinois office of the Anti-Defamation League believes the best way to counter the protest is to ignore it.