Anti-LGBTQ graffiti found in LI school that banned queer book, Pride flags

Graffiti reading "F**k the gays" at Connetquot High School is being investigated by police as a hate crime.
Graffiti reading "F**k the gays" at Connetquot High School is being investigated by police as a hate crime. Photo credit LGBT Network

BOHEMIA, N.Y. (1010 WINS) — The Suffolk County Police Department is investigating two pieces of anti-LGBTQ graffiti found in Connetquot High School earlier this month.

The first graffiti was discovered on an LGBTQ “ally” sticker Feb. 10. It read “F**k the gays.” A similar message was found scrawled on a hallway wall Feb. 17.

The SCPD’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incidents.

“Connetquot Central School District is a place of No Hate and this act of hateful vandalism will not be tolerated,” wrote District Superintendent Lynda Adams told Newsday. “We, as a community, are here for our staff and students and will continue to offer services through our mental health professionals for any who seek it once school resumes on Feb. 27.”

The messages were found just months after two high-profile battles in the school district over pride flags in classrooms and books with LGBTQ narratives in libraries.

The district responded to a complaint from a student regarding pride flags in a classroom by banning all flags except the American and state flags in classrooms last fall.

The district said it was enforcing its policy mandating employees refrain from engaging in political activities in school by doing so.

At a protest against the decision in October, Jack Loubier, a bisexual high school senior, denounced the school board for politicizing his identity.

“I am not political," he said. "My friends are not political. I cannot believe that this Board of Education has been able to take such a non-controversial topic and make it controversial just for the sport of it.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul launched an investigation into the flag ban after LGBTQ groups pushed back against the decision.

The flag ban came a few weeks after the district banned a book addressing LGBTQ issues — “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe.

The school district maintains its decision to require permission slips from parents to check out the book did not constitute a ban.

“The book ‘Gender Queer’ has never been banned from the Connetquot Central School District,” a spokesperson for the district told Patch. “It did come under content review based on a community member’s request last spring. At this time it remains in circulation, with a permission slip needed for minors to check it out from our library, and it’s kept at the librarian’s desk.”

PEN America, a non-profit that defends First Amendment rights in relation to literature, identified the act of requiring a permission slip as a ban, because it restricts access for people who would otherwise be able to read the book.

“We strive to provide children with knowledge about their actions and the power of their words,” School Board President Jaclyn Napolitano-Furno told Newsday after the graffiti was discovered. “Unfortunately, not every single person will resonate with our message.

When LGBTQ+ activists rallied against the flag ban in October, Napolitano-Furno defended the decision, citing the concerns of students who were opposed to the Pride flag.

“Students reported feeling uncomfortable about a flag that was being displayed on the wall in a particular classroom directly adjacent to the American flag," she said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: LGBT Network