Bil Browning

Utah school upset over neighbor's pro-gay signs

Filed By Bil Browning | December 09, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living
Tags: anti-gay harassment, Nebo School District, pro-gay signs, Springville, teen suicide, Utah

The Art City Elementary School in Springville, Utah is upset with a neighbor who has put up three pro-gay signs on his fence. The signs face the elementary school's playground.

Springville_UT.gifAfter learning about the recent rash of suicides by young LGBT kids, Leonard Ridley, an elderly Springville resident, posted signs condemning bullying, exhorting kids to tell the truth, and telling the kids that gays are born gay. The school has taken issue with the sign about suicide, saying that they don't discuss the issue with kids that young. They say the content is "adult in nature" but insist that they're not focused on the LGBT portion of his placards.

"The District is very concerned about the content of the signs and it's not his beliefs are different from other peoples," according to Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey.

The city's code enforcement officer has deemed the signs' content appropriate but found that Ridley's three signs together violated an ordinance about how big signs can be. Ridley has agreed to rotate the three signs to be in compliance with the city's laws.

Video interview with Ridley and school officials after the jump.


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I figure if you're old enough to read the word "suicide," you're old enough to learn what it means.

I like the signs. It was a great idea.

When I was 13 a friend committed suicide. I'm dating someone right now who was suicidal at age 9. I've known folks who were suicidal by age 6. It's not "adult in nature" if children are experiencing it. That's about the most offensive thing I've heard in years. And just because the school administrators bury their heads in the sand and don't talk about it doesn't mean the students aren't thinking about it with no one to talk to.

This man's signs are clearly protected free speech under the First amendment ... the city has a right to regulate the size and colors of the signs and such, but if the school board and/or school administrators don't like what the man is saying ... for any reason ... they are just S.O.L.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | December 9, 2010 7:12 PM

The first two people I knew who committed suicide were two boys aged about 16 or 17 in my high school in Colorado. One was still in school and the older one, like me, was just about to enter college.

I distinctly remember trying not to think about it.

Someone send the school a copy of the Australian study Writing Themselves In 3 especially the statistic of the number of children in primary school already aware of their own same-sex-attracted orientation.

Paige Listerud | December 10, 2010 2:14 PM

Give that man a medal! He is one brave and compassionate dude.

Give me a break. I have had a 9 year old tell me that he wanted to die during a lesson which just happened to coincide with him reaching crisis state. I had to bring in his mom and helped her to set up some counseling etc for him. He is now 13 and doing fine. Kids are going to hear about it better to hear some truth. maybe if these people were willing to discuss these issues there would be fewer suicides.