Kaycee Cook, who was up until this past week a regular substitute teacher at McCormick Junior High in Cheyenne, Wyoming, believes she was fired because she stood up and tried to protect LGBTQ students in her school.
Cook helped sponsor the Gay-Straight Alliance club in the middle school she taught at. For the past several weeks, harassment against students in the club has been persistent. It’s gotten to the point where some students who used to regularly attend GSA meetings no longer do so.
“I was in GSA until about four weeks ago, until it really started to get bad,” one anonymous student said, per reporting from The Daily Beast.
Some other students, belonging to a group that calls itself the “Confederate Kid Club,” have been posting up flyers around the school. These flyers say things like “It’s great to be straight, it’s not OK to be gay,” and “Black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton?”
So @CityOfCheyenne & @Laramie_1 , reporting racist & homophobic abuse will get teachers fired at McCormick Jr. High in Cheyenne Wyoming? Why did principal Jeff Conine fire a teacher for reporting racist and bigoted harrassment of students?#lgbtqtwitter https://t.co/CL0cC43ByG
— MikePence'sGayFriend (@KDavisGayFriend) March 29, 2019
In the middle of the flyers is a Pride flag, with the “no” symbol superimposed on top of it. The flyers urge students at the school to “join the KKK.”
Cook reported these flyers, and alerted a local LGBTQ organization in Cheyenne about their presence in the school. It was on Wednesday, after she had done so, that Principal Jeff Conine sent her an email, dismissing her from substitute teaching duties from that point forward.
“I am notifying you that due to incidents that have occurred at McCormick you are no longer welcome as a guest or a substitute teacher in our building,” the email read.
Students protested the actions taken by the school on Thursday, by coming to school holding “love is love” signs, carrying rainbow flags, and marching around the school field in the middle of the school day, reported the Torrington Telegraph.
The school district is reportedly looking into the matter.
“In the midst of an investigation regarding inappropriate flyers that were posted at McCormick Junior High yesterday, [Laramie County School District 1] is offering support to our LGBTQ and black students who were reportedly targeted through the incident,” a statement from the district read.