A group chat between members of the Lawrence (Kansas) football team that mocked transgender students has led to widespread condemnation on the part of their fellow students and a full sit-in to demand they be punished.
As reported by the Kansas City Star, as many as 100 Lawrence students staged an on campus sit-in to demonstrate their disapproval of a hateful football team group chat that mocked transgender students and was subsequently shared across the campus.
According to the Star, the initial 40 students who took part in the sit-in provided school administrators with a list of demands, which included suspensions and mandatory LGBTQ education classes for students who wrote the hateful comments in the senior class group chat. That group includes some of the school’s football players, who could potentially miss one or more games should their suspension include the night of a scheduled game.
The specific inclusion of football players among the demands was no fluke; the Lawrence High Total Equality Alliance expressed outrage that members of the football team were allowed to compete in last Friday’s game after the chat had become public.
“It wasn’t really a shock to us, but it was alarming,” student organizer Elliot Bradley told The Lawrence Journal-World. “It was really difficult for us to handle, knowing that these are people who represent our school.”
According to the Lawrence publication, the chat included comments which referred to transgender people as “mentally ill” and messages such as, “If a (slur for transgender person) hits you is it still hitting a woman or no?”
School officials eventually met with the students at the sit-in, though there was no public acknowledgement of whether the administration would acquiesce to their demands.