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Watch: Student Puts Up Bible Verses to 'Help' LGBTQ Schoolmates 'Living in Confusion,' Gets Suspended

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Mar 13, 2019
Gabby Helsinger
Gabby Helsinger  (Source:Facebook video screen shot)

When a teenager in Ohio saw that rainbow flags and LGBTQ-supportive posters had been put up at Lebanon High School, she decided that her LGBTQ schoolmates were living in a state of "confusion" and needed to be "healed" with a dose of that old-time religion. So, reports Yahoo.com, she took it upon herself to put up something of her own on the school's walls: Bible verses.

Media reports did not specify which verses Gabby Helsinger, who is also a student at Lebanon High School, put up around the building, but she ended up being suspended for it because — as she acknowledged in a video she posted about the suspension — she had put them up without permission.

School officials were reportedly concerned that she had "targeted" Lebanon's Gay-Straight Alliance. But Helsinger said she didn't even know was a GSA was.

Conservative and Christian news sites leaped on the story, with Fox News quoting Helsinger's account, as she explained in her video.

"So, on Thursday when I got to school I seen that there were pride flags, posters around my school," the teen explains in a video posted to Facebook. "And I felt the need to write down some Bible verses so I could put them around my school. And I wrote them down, and I put them around my lockers, the walls."

Helsinger claimed that she was motivated by a desire to "help" the school's LGBTQ youth.

"They don't need to be living in the confusion of wondering if they should be gay, bi, lesbian, trans — anything like that," Helsinger said in her video.

And though there's no account of any LGBTQ fellow student having expressed any feelings of "confusion" — let alone discomfort or injury — around their own sexual orientation or gender identity, Helsinger seemingly believed she had the answer she evidently assumed they were seeking.

In her video, the student professes that "I know that God is the only way that they can be healed... and that's why I did it."

The school's administration saw the issue differently. The teen talks in her video about teachers taking her postings down from the walls, and says that she was "called to the office," where she was told that she was being given a suspension for "targeting the GSA organization," as well as for "abuse of others, disrespect [and] rudeness," as well as having put up the postings without having permission to do so. Her defense to that was to observe that students often leave notes for one another on Post-Its that they stick to lockers, and no one is punished for that.

Helsinger's mother, Tina, provided a caption to the teen's video, Yahoo.com reported. The caption reads: "Lebanon schools celebrate evil and punishes righteousness!!"

The video's caption goes on to say, "If you feel she is being unjustly punished please flood emails and calls to the Principal and Assistant Principal if [sic] Lebanon High School."

Principal Scott Butler offered an alternative to the "celebrates evil!!" narrative, telling the media, "In general, when a student violates the Student Code of Conduct, there are consequences for those actions."

Watch Gabby Helsinger's video below:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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