Westboro Baptist Church planning protest on Grand Blanc High School homecoming day
(9/26/2018) - Westboro Baptist Church has notified Grand Blanc Community Schools of its intent to protest on Oct. 5's homecoming day.
The conservative church from Topeka, Kansas, is planning the protest outside Grand Blanc High School that day. The specific location and reason for the protest were not immediately known.
Grand Blanc Superintendent Clarence Garner said the picket will not happen on school property, but close to it on public land.
Westboro Baptist Church has used inflammatory rhetoric against homosexuality, LGBT rights and gay marriage in the past. Church members also have picketed outside soldiers' funerals.
The picket at Grand Blanc High School is scheduled for 10:20 to 10:50 a.m., according to the church's website.
Other Westboro pickets that day are planned for 6:55 to 7:30 a.m. outside Southwestern Academy in Flint and 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. outside the University of Michigan-Flint SEJ Annual Conference.
A press release posted on Westboro's website about the picket at Southwestern Academy references the "economically disadvantaged" students and how they need the "bread of life which we will happily bring to their eyes."
The church has not released any specific information about the Grand Blanc or University of Michigan-Flint pickets.
Grand Blanc school administrators plan to accommodate the group's request to picket under the First Amendment. But Grand Blanc schools will not sanction or encourage the group in any way, according to a statement.
"It is unfortunate that a group of adults has chosen a school to spread this message in a way calculated to cause a disruption, but we feel confident that our community will respond peacefully in the face of such adversity," the district's statement says.
Police also are aware of the plans for the demonstration. The district says both the Grand Blanc City and Grand Blanc Township police departments will closely monitor the group's activity.
"In cooperation with our local law enforcement, we will not engage with these protesters as long as they abide by the law, and we hope that our community will follow suit," the district's statement says.
Administrators hope the public can enjoy homecoming despite the planned protest.
"Please don’t let the misguided actions of a few derail your enjoyment of our Homecoming festivities," the statement says.