CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A rally is taking place Wednesday evening at Ridgeline High School in response to a controversial video circulating on social media, Lt. Mikelshan Bartschi of the Cache County Sheriff’s Office confirms.
The video shows a student at Ridgeline High School cutting down a LGBTQ pride flag Tuesday during the school’s Diversity Week.
The Cache County School District released the following statement on their website in response to the incident:
“The Cache County School District is aware of an incident at Ridgeline High School which occurred at the end of the day on April 13, when a pride flag was hung over the top of a country flag during a GSA event in the student commons. This flag was subsequently cut down by a student who was not part of the event. Neither the school nor the school district condones the insensitive and disrespectful removal of the flag, which was done without permission. In fact, this took place during Ridgeline’s Diversity Week, which is held with the intention to create awareness and celebrate the diversity of students, as well as increase inclusion among the Ridgeline student body. This type of incident reminds us of the importance of continually educating students, not just during a Diversity Week, on the importance of respecting one another and the right to attend school, participate in events, and learn in a safe and respectful school environment.”
According to Bartschi, there were people beginning to gather for the rally on Wednesday afternoon. He says that individuals have shown up to show support for the LGBTQ community. Police are in the area to ensure safety and manage traffic to the area, he shares.
According to Lauren Giddings, a former student who graduated from Ridgeline High School in 2019, the incident was not surprising to her. Giddings posted the video of the incident on social media and emailed the school about the situation.
“I think what happened in that video is just one example of the rampant general negative attitude towards people who are different. That includes LGBTQ, that includes people of color and minorities at Ridgeline. It has never been an inclusive place, and that comes from the administration. That comes from the general student body. I think the actions in that video are just disgusting, the fact that that student tore down the flag. That was not the first time it had been taken down that day, and what really got me was the fact that people were cheering… that was really frustrating and saddening to see from a school that I attended and a school that I enjoyed my time at,” Giddings told ABC4.
Giddings says this is not the first incident of this kind to happen at Ridgeline.
“Things like this have happened at Ridgeline since its inception. It’s almost a brand new school. This isn’t the first incident of microaggressions or of just blatant bigotry and hatred. At one point there were confederate flags on campus and nothing was done,” Giddings tells ABC4. “Administration has never done anything and have continued to turn a blind eye to it.”
Giddings also says she hopes that this incident creates change for the better.
“I think there is the potential for this event to become more polarizing and for more students to become stuck in their ways because I think if the administration comes out and suspends or takes action against that student, that’s great. But there’s still a general attitude of hatred and bigotry that is throughout the student body. I hope that something changes, and the only way that I foresee it being able to change is if there’s some sort of education that happens as far as acceptance goes,” she explains.
Specifically, she says she would like to see class, course, or assembly on acceptance and diversity.
“This event happened during diversity week. The whole point of diversity week is to accept and appreciate and learn about different cultures and identities, and if you’re going to do something that disrespectful during a week literally dedicated to diversity, I think there needs to be some sort of recourse,” she says. “I’d like to see some sort of assembly to discuss the incident and create a better environment.”