MILLVILE – Students rallied for their LGBTQ classmates at Ridgeline High School in Cache County after video surfaced online of another teen cutting down a pride flag during a diversity week event.
Several who spoke with KSL-TV said they were calling for positive change to come out of the incident.
It shocked and frightened students who attended the after-school event for the Gay-Straight Alliance.
"Oh, I'm terrified. I wasn't allowed to go to school today," said freshman Spencer Wilkinson.
Wilkinson said what she found at school Wednesday afternoon, however, changed that terror to encouragement as she was met with quite the opposite – a rally for support outside her school.
"I was so surprised," she said. "I think it's important that, not only here – we recognize the homophobia that's happened – but everywhere, because it's so active and it's happening."
Susie Augenstein, an ally for the LGBTQ community, said she was hoping for the same thing.
A lot of upheaval online, after these videos circulated of a student at Ridgeline High School, cutting down a pride flag, with some laughing and cheering. It had been put up for a Diversity week event, and was only supposed to be up there for a short time. @KSL5TVpic.twitter.com/BG8fFPrA9X— Mike Anderson (@mikeandersonKSL) April 14, 2021
"I really, really believe that kids that were involved were probably acting out from things they probably heard at home," Augenstein said.
She said students reached out to her after the flag was cut down just the event started.
"If you're an LGBT kid and you're standing there and your classmates, it just makes you want to hide. This is where we have increased suicides. I mean, that's a real concern." Augenstein said.
She said positive change needs to happen and people should get to know others who are different from them.
"The second that you do that, it's amazing how your heart can change and soften, and how you can really use your voice for good," she said.
Augenstein said juveniles can do dumb things and mess up, but they can also learn from those mistakes.
That was the main thing Wilkinson wanted people to take away from the diversity week.
"Spread awareness and love, not hate," she emphasized.
Officials from the Cache County School District released a statement, saying the incident stands as a reminder to continually educate students about diversity.
Larger country flags at the school have been taken down, including the pride flag.