Monday, October 21, 2013

Missouri Rep. Kevin Elmer Calls Nixa Schools 'Failure' for Gay-Straight Alliance T-Shirt

Posted By on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Missouri Rep. Kevin Elmer tweeted this photo on Oct. 17 with this caption: "Nixa Schools failure. HS students working elementary school book fair in gay t-shirts." - KEVIN ELMER ON TWITTER
  • Kevin Elmer on Twitter
  • Missouri Rep. Kevin Elmer tweeted this photo on Oct. 17 with this caption: "Nixa Schools failure. HS students working elementary school book fair in gay t-shirts."

Missouri Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, snapped a photo of a teen girl's chest and tweeted it last week because he was offended by her Nixa High School gay-straight alliance t-shirt.

Missouri Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa - MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Double trouble: He tweeted the photo on October 17, which is Spirit Day, a three-year-old holiday dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ folks and ending homophobic abuse and bullying.

A.J. Bockelman, executive director at PROMO Missouri, says Elmer's tweet is bullying. "He's trying to call out an entire class of students who are gay or lesbian, or perceived to be or support gay or lesbian students, and trying to put them on trial for being supportive in their school."

Elmer did not immediately return phone calls from the Daily RFT, but the tweet was deleted from his account over the weekend.

See also: LGBT Bullying: Why Does Rep. Sue Allen Oppose Specific Protections for Gay Students?

Elmer was attending parent-teacher conferences at Mathews Elementary School in Nixa, which is outside Springfield, when he saw the shirt on a Nixa High School student working the adjoining book fair. He tweeted her photo with the caption: "Nixa Schools failure. HS students working elementary school book fair in gay t-shirts."

The shirt, based on a collaboration of student designs, features three couples -- two men, two women and a man and woman pair -- above the word "Harmony" in purple, a color closely associated with the LGBTQ community.

Nixa High School's gay-straight alliance, a student club dedicated to promoting understanding of queer issues, has been on and off for several years, says Nixa Public Schools spoksesman Zac Rantz, but the club reorganized last year and has 120 members, almost 10 percent of the 1,800 student population.

"This isn't just one or two students in a small rural school," Bockelman says.

Continue on for the Twitterverse's reaction to Elmer. Hint: The tweeps aren't happy.

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