A southern Illinois high school has a lot to answer for after a transphobic and homophobic survey was sent around to multiple students.
The survey, was a product of the "Anti-Queer Association" at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School in Anna, Illinois. It asked students if they wanted "Queer kids to go to the bathroom with us normal people."
Christopher Mark, an alum of Anna-Jonesboro Community High School posted a photo of the survey to his Facebook page.
The opening paragraph on the document explained the purpose of the survey, urging Anna-Jonesboro Community High School students to "VOTE WISELY!!!"
"This document is represented by the students of AJCHS."
"This is about all the QUEER Kids in this school."
"This is a vote for all the students of AJCHS, this is not public you do not have to put your name on it or anything like that all we need is a check YES or NO."
"This is an anonymous vote."
The students were then given two choices, with the "Anti-Queer Association" making no attempt whatsoever in hiding their bigoted agenda or how they wanted participants to vote.
"(YES) I WANT QUEERS TO GO IN THE BATHROOM"
"(NO) I DON'T WANT QUEER KIDS TO GO TO THE BATHROOM WITH US NORMAL PEOPLE;"
Mark's post was met with horror in the comments section, with many heavily troubled by the use of the word "normal."
School superintendent Rob Wright became aware of the survey after it was shared on multiple social media platforms.
While he declined to share any names of students or parents involved in the "Anti-Queer Association," he did release a statement promising there would be consequences for those responsible.
"I can tell you that this type of harassment is taken very seriously and will not be tolerated."
"And once the investigation is complete, the appropriate discipline will take place where warranted."
Michael Coleman, who serves on the board of directors at The Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Center in Carbondale, Illinois expressed his disgust at how this survey came to be to local NBC affiliate WPSD 6.
"My understanding is that it was an association that was brought upon the students and a parent that's cosigning for it that made the Anti-Queer Association, basically trying to repeal the Keep Youth/Children Safe [and Healthy] Act."
The Keep Youth/Children Safe and Healthy Act was a law passed in Illinois this past August, ensuring Illinois schools teach sexual health education and LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum.
Coleman also told WPSD 6 he spoke with students at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School and worried for their safety and mental health.
"They really feel very unsafe in that environment in Anna-Jonesboro and that they felt that nothing was going to get done."
In response to students affected by the survey, The Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Center posted a message of support on their Facebook page.
They also posted a call to action, encouraging readers to copy and paste a message to send to Superintendent Wright, or the school's principal, Brett Detering.
The message included information regarding how the majority of transgender students feel unsafe at their schools, thus affecting their GPA's, as well as the heartbreaking statistic of suicide rates among transgender teens.
This isn't the first time Anna-Jonesboro Principal Brett Detering has come under fire.
A 2019 story in ProPublica Illinois exposed how Anna-Jonesboro's entire staff was White, which didn't help the predominantly White town of Anna's reputation for being a "sundown town" where Black people were frequently met with violent encounters if they were out after dark.
In 2015, when Detering was also athletic director, a bullying incident was captured on the cell phones of multiple students, where a sophomore member of the football team was forcibly tied up and placed in a locker room shower.
Detering and the school were heavily criticized for not alerting parents about the incident until weeks after it occurred, by which time it had become common knowledge.
Coverage of the survey gradually gained more widespread attention, resulting in people taking to Twitter to demand action.
Whatever the consequences for the students responsible for the survey, Michael Coleman still said they are welcome at The Rainbow Cafe any time, and even hopes they all do pay him a visit, so they can have an important conversation.
"I like to tell people: If you don't know something, learn it."
"Don't spew hate about it because you don't understand something."