When the Kansas hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps' family) announced they would picket Bay Area schools and Jewish institutions, students at Gunn High School decided they could not sit quietly. With the support of their teachers and administrators, they chose to respond with song and positive messages of love, peace and acceptance. (3:34)
- The students at Gunn High School considered protesting the WBC by having an empty school lot so the group would have no one to protest. Do you think this would have been as effective as the rally that they ended up holding? Why or why not?
- The students used their Facebook pages to spread the word about this event. Around the world, large scale social change movements (Egypt and Tunisia as recent examples) have gained momentum through social media (Twitter, Facebook, texting). What impact do you think these forms of communication have on our society in terms of combating hate or the promotion of hate? (Note that WBC and many hate groups effectively use the web to spread their beliefs.)
- The WBC hate group is legally protected under the U.S. Constitution in its right to picket and protest, even at funerals or near schools. This right to free speech and assembly is a core part of the American democracy. How do you feel about these rights when the message is a hateful or hurtful one? Does the message matter or is it the principal behind it?
- The WBC was primarily targeting Gunn High School because of its work to ensure all students are accepted and valued, including students who are gay. Do you feel our school has created this same culture of acceptance and value for all our students? Why or why not? What further steps could we take?