As Pastor Ken Hutcherson began his speech about overcoming his own prejudices—at a January 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly at Snoqualmie's Mount Si High School—he was met with boos. The loud protests didn't come from agitated students, but rather from several teachers, alarmed and offended by the irony of Hutcherson's speech on equality.
Hutcherson has been a fierce opponent of gay rights in Washington State, holding antigay rallies and pressuring companies like Microsoft to do away with same-sex partner benefits. So, when he showed up to speak about prejudice, it came as a bit of a shock to Kit McCormick, an English teacher and advisor to Mount Si's Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) club.
"I'm astonished [Hutcherson] was brought to the school to talk about equality," McCormick told The Stranger. "This is totally going to help me teach irony in my English class."
Following the assembly, students at Mount Si crowded together in the school's hallways voicing their displeasure with, surprisingly, the teachers. Several students The Stranger spoke with were outraged at Hutcherson's treatment. However, some students, including Lindsey, a 17-year-old GSA member, are happy that Hutcherson was shouted down. "Is anyone going to listen to us if we write a nice letter to the principal?" she asked.
Hutcherson has asked for the school to hold a forum to discuss the incident, but so far no plans have been made.