Students at an Oregon high school walked out of school earlier this month to protest the presence of a Chick-fil-A food truck at football games, as well as alleged instances of harassment against the school’s LGBT community.
The Christian-owned company is often at the center of protests from those in the LGBT community over its commitment to traditional, Christian values.
Some students at West Linn High School, which is south of Portland, say the presence of a Chick-fil-A cart at football games is only a part of the reason that they claim to feel unsafe.
Susie Walters, president of the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance club, told KGW she’s seen an increase in bullying.
“Hate crimes and harassment,” she said.
“We’re not going to stand for that anymore and we’re going to make sure school is a safe place for everyone and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
In order to bring attention to the alleged harassment, and to protest the presence of the Chick-fil-A food truck, the club helped organize a walkout.
About 100 students walked out in the middle of the school day on Nov. 8, according to The Washington Times, and met a group of about 25 parents and family members, who were standing across the street.
A school spokesman noted that the Chick-fil-A food truck was one of the vendors chosen by a booster club, but said the school will be more critical of food vendor contracts in the future.
Andrew Kilstrom, the school’s public information officer, also told KATU he wasn’t aware of any recent harassment incidences, but said the school is committed to making sure its students are safe.
“The West Linn-Wilsonville School District takes all matters of school safety seriously, and diligently investigates and addresses all potential safety concerns,” he said. “That includes bullying or cyberbullying.”
Even though Kilstrom told The Times that the contract wouldn’t be absolved prematurely, the food vendor was not at the football game on Nov. 8, the day that the walkout occurred, according to KATU.
“I have friends that are very happy that they’re not here, and don’t believe they should be here because of some of the beliefs their company supposedly has,” Emily Williams, a West Linn student, told KATU.
“But then I have friends that are kind of upset by it because they love Chick-fil-A, they love the food, and to them it’s like, yeah LGBTQ rights are important, but I don’t think it’s important enough that we should be sending a food cart away.”