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LCSD#1 Announces Homophobic And Racist Behavior Is Under Investigation

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Screenshot provided by Kaycee Cook
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According to a statement released by Laramie County School District #1, an incident involving racism and homophobia is under investigation. On Wednesday posters targeting black and LGBTQ students were found on the walls at McCormick Junior High in Cheyenne.

Laramie #1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said the district is working to determine if this was an isolated incident or part of a larger cultural issue in the schools. Brown said teachers need to be vigilant about homophobic and racist behavior and call it out.

"It's not something that we're going to tolerate. That's why we are trying to get to the bottom of it," said Brown.

He said administrators are looking at ways to send a clear message about tolerance through in-class activities.

If students feel unsafe, Brown encouraged them to reach out to a trusted adult.

Kaycee Cook facilitates a county-wide gathering of students in Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs from different schools that meets twice a month. She said those students are experiencing a pattern of bullying and harassment.

"Hopefully we will progress, change the narrative and address some of these issues for all of the students at McCormick Junior High and citywide, within the whole district," said Cook. "I don't know that McCormick is the only school where GSA kids, or kids of color, or minorities are targeted."

Cook was also a substitute teacher and the co-sponsor of the GSA club at McCormick, but following the incidents with the flyers, she received an email from Principal Jeff Conine informing her that she was no longer welcomed in the building. Cook said this is a time when LGBTQ students really need her support. Conine offered Cook no explanation for the decision to restrict her access to the school.

Wyoming Public Radio reached out to Conine for comment several times, but he was unavailable.

Superintendent Brown said he's working to address the issue and to get Cook back at McCormick to support students.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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