Hastings High School rock painted with anti-gay phrases

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HASTINGS, Mich. – Some community members in Hastings are upset after high school students allegedly painted anti-gay phrases on a prominent rock displayed at the front of the school.

FOX 17 News spoke with a closeted student from Hastings High School.  She says she’s disgusted with what was painted on the rock and how students treat people like her.  She requested to remain anonymous.

“A lot of people were upset because the things they wrote on the rock were not OK," the Hastings student said. "They were mean slurs against gay people."

The slurs on the rock were covered up when it was repainted Friday.  An outraged relative of the student says the hateful words were visible all day Thursday.

“I couldn’t believe that it was there long enough for students to take pictures," the student's relative said. "That’s my main thing. Who allowed it to be up there long enough for all of these students to see it?”

The student we spoke with says she’s concerned with the hazing she sees regularly at the school. The rock graffiti, she says, reinforces her concerns.

“[Being gay is] not something that is highly accepted at that school, I’ve noticed," the student said. "There are others like me but they’re not out and open about it either. If they are, they kind of get messed with.”

She hopes one day all students can be tolerant of everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Superintendent of Hastings Area Schools Dr. Carrie Duits told FOX 17 in a statement:

"Hastings Area Schools does not tolerate these hateful messages or any behavior that symbolizes hate or discrimination toward others for any reason. The rock has been repainted. If students feel they are victimized by any such behavior, they should report it immediately to administration. We have not had reports of homophobic hazing or students feeling unsafe, and again this should be reported immediately to administration."


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  • Kevin Rahe

    People can’t be expected to accept homosexual acts or relationships as a good thing, but neither should someone be bullied or worse because they experience same-sex attractions, even if they act on them.

    • Keet

      Nor should the President of the US bully our public schools. But when the leader of the country models bullying, we shouldn’t be surprised when others follow that example.

      • Kevin Rahe

        I can’t argue with that – the examples being set by our leaders (sometimes on both sides of the aisle) these days are abysmal.

    • L.T. Nickerson, Hastings resident

      You had me with you right up until the end there, Kevin. There is a significant social difference between having the desire to do something and actually doing it. No one can, or should even try, to legislate how someone feels, nor should people be harassed, bullied, or denigrated for how they feel. I agree with you there. But we do legislate, at the community level, human behavior. We do set community standards of the types of behavior we accept and do not accept all the time. We have to do this in order to keep civility and peace. We have to live together, so we all have to agree on behavioral standards, community by community.

      The problem we are having with this issue as a country is that the federal government is trying to legislate morality on a national level. That can never work! A group of people that large will never be able to agree on ANYTHING of that nature, so any effort to legislate moral standards will only cause MORE dissention, MORE community dissarray, LESS acceptance, and LESS unity, peace, and ultimately less civilization as well. Human psychology has dictated that we humans naturally separate ourselves into small communities based on shared views of acceptable behavior, because large groups can not ever come to that sort of concensus. Humans have never naturally banded together to live in huge complex unified social entities. Every effort at that has been artificially induced, and it has failed every single time for that reason, and for that reason alone. The reason that this country is experiencing a social degeneration of the magnitude that it is, is because autonomy of the local communities, as well as the individual states, to govern themselves with regard to behavioral standards has been usurped by the federal government. We just are not the kind of beings who can exist peacefully under an arbitrarily established set of behavioral standards in a singular community the size of this country. Federal laws HAVE to be arbitrary in a country this size because the people disagree too much to come to any sort of non-arbitrary concensus. But arbitrary laws benefit no one. Ultimately they have no foundation and therefore they do more to destroy than to unify.

      Communities like Hastings are doing well for themselves, growing, prospering, thriving, in the face of the challenges of the 21st century because they have largely rejected (at least in practice and principle) federal control over the behavioral standards of their community. They have done so carefully, so as not to equate rejecting the behaviors with rejecting the individuals who desire to engage in those behaviors. They have been largely successful in that, though perhaps not perfectly. (There will always be intellectually challenged individuals who are incapable of making the distinction between the individual and the behavior.) But the bottom line is that the people of Hastings, and communities like Hastings do not buy into the federal government’s mandate that tolerance must be of BOTH the individual AND of the behavior. Tolerance of the individual is something that most people have no problem with, and if it was presented to them in that way there would be very little pushback. But when you make no distinction between the individual and the behavior, and try to force communities to tolerate both, you end up with a community which rejects both the behavior AND the individual simply because they are opposed to the behavior.

      • Kevin Rahe

        L.T., I think we are largely and perhaps completely in agreement on the matters of distinguishing between individuals and their behavior and how the law should treat both. The only thing I’m cautioning against is bullying and mistreating people because of what they do, such as this graffiti does. We can certainly teach our children that certain behavior is bad, that we are all tempted to engage in harmful behavior of one sort or another, and that we should avoid respecting or supporting harmful behavior that others engage in. But none of that requires bullying or denigrating anyone else. Nor does it preclude admonishing civic leaders who advocate policies that promote the practice or acceptance of harmful behavior, or even directly but constructively and civilly addressing instances of that behavior and those who engage in it.

      • YoungAtHeart

        LT, individual … behavior … distinction without a difference. And it doesn’t matter anyway. Hastings doesn’t like its homosexuals and that’s that. Why complicate it?

        • Kevin Rahe

          YoungAtHeart, you can’t love a person without accepting everything they do? Wouldn’t that make even parenting a child an impossible proposition? I think you’ve got it wrong.

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  • L.T. Nickerson, Hastings resident

    “Some community members in Hastings are upset…”

    You say “some”, but you only reported on one. A gay one at that. So your premise does not support your conclusion.
    Even that one person is telling you that as a community Hastings is largely NOT upset by this, and largely is NOT supportive of homosexuality as an acceptable way of life. Yet you choose to spin the facts and report something that is simply not true.

    Hastings, like many, many communities in this country, understands that homosexuality exists, that they have homosexual people living there, and that it is simply a fact of life that they have to accept. And they do. However, they believe that there is a very big and very important difference between accepting homosexuals in their community and condoning and supporting homosexuality itself. They make a distinction between the people and the behavior. So while you will not see homosexual individuals being physically beaten, or denied services, you will most definitely see a tangible display of community-wide moral standards which exclude homosexuality from the bounds of acceptable behavior.

    “Some” people are upset by that. Fox was able to find one. But “some” is hardly “most”, and in communities where democracy has not yet been fully purged by the Communist left, the will of “most” of the population is what determines the standards underwhich ALL of the people in that community must live.

    So if Fox is going to report on this it ought to be doing it in the light of the facts as they are, not the facts as Fox thinks they would be the most palatable.

    Hastings is a small town in Michigan where democracy is still in effect, and where community standards are largely remain unaffected by federal law mandating certain kinds of morality over others. Hastings is a community which chooses for itself what is acceptable behavior and what is not. And while it accepts the homosexuals who live there, it does not, nor will it, accept, condone, or support homosexuality.

    Yes, that upsets “some” people. But most people, at least in Hastings, find that to be nothing more than a community exercising the free expression of ideas as set forth in the first amendment of the Constitution.


    If you have been following these “anti-gay” stories across the nation a very large percentage turn out to be a hoax.
    The last, a gay pastor claimed a cake he ordered had a “anti-gay” slur in frosting. It turned out the cake maker, aware of the many false claims had the foresight to video the cake before the customer picked it up.
    The gay pastor made a huge issue of it, filed a law suit. He’s very sorry, now that he’s been caught.

    I’ll wait before I say anything. If history means anything, there is a better than 50% chance this is also a hoax perpetrated by the very people who claim to be victims.


    • Kevin Rahe

      Good point and a strong possibility, especially if there was no particular incident or new policy at the school or in the community that this might have been a response to.

  • That Guy

    Owell its not right period!! God made adam and eve not adam and steve. We all will find out soon. Why not except God either he is who he says he is or not in the long run its worth and if not then what do you have to lose??? Do what you do just keep it away from the children cause basically it starts at home if you think about it. Leaders of the home or the nation. Lets just be strong and quit all the violence and stupid stuff and focus on saving this world from evil and clean it all up before its to late. God Bless and just accept him. You all will find out.

  • YoungAtHeart

    It’s no surprise these youngsters express contempt for gay people. Gay dudes are icons of personal weakness and physical incompetence. These young men aspire to a higher standard for their school and wants others to know it.

  • Sylvester

    Hastings, you continue to amaze me. Indecent exposure is OK, gay slurs are okay, ignorance is okay, keep it up…you just might win the award. Keep doing yourselves proud. Smh.