Damascus High School students march after anti-LGBTQ+ incident

Students at Damascus High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, held a march Monday in response to an anti-LGBTQ+ incident the previous week, with another incident taking place during the march itself.

The first incident happened Nov. 30 and involved “inappropriate comments” toward students participating in the school’s Genders and Sexuality Alliance club, according to a letter sent to families on Tuesday by principal Kevin Yates.

“The comments were seen as physically threatening to the students in the room and were specifically demeaning to LGBTQ+ students,” the letter said. “Additionally, the students in the room heard other students in the hallway saying ‘white power.’”

Then, at Monday’s march, which Yates described as “peaceful and respectful,” two students drove a truck back and forth with an offensive flag depicting a weapon with the words “Come and Take It.”

The letter said that school administrators are following up with the parents/guardians of the two students and will be taking disciplinary action based on the Montgomery County Public Schools Student Code of Conduct.

“I have met with the students affected by these incidents and committed the resources of the school on a continuing basis should they need time with our counselors to further discuss these incidents,” Yates wrote, adding, “We will continue to ensure that Damascus is a safe space for all students.”

Separately, Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda was vandalized with racist graffiti in early October. In 2020, three teenagers were charged in connection to “racially themed vandalisms” at Walt Whitman High School. Also last year, “hate-based” graffiti was found at an elementary school in Clarksburg, Maryland.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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