Commencement was canceled — then rescheduled — in Kellogg over the weekend, days after the North Idaho district barred one graduating senior from participating in the ceremony.
The controversy began to unfold after a recent assembly, the Shoshone News-Press reported. During the event, senior Travis Lohr said, “Guys are guys and girls are girls. There is no in-between.”
Lohr said he meant no harm by the statement, and wasn’t targeting anyone, the News-Press reported. But he also said he knew his comments could be controversial. And after the assembly, Lohr said he was told he would not be allowed to participate in Saturday’s graduation event.
In an interview with the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Kellogg district Superintendent Lance Pearson declined to discuss details from the assembly, but said the student barred from graduation had been on “thin ice” for other matters.
The district on Friday decided abruptly to postpone Saturday’s graduation, with school and local law enforcement saying they were concerned about outside protests at the ceremony. Shoshone County Sheriff Holly Lindsey told Pearson that she thought as many as 300 protesters might show up, overwhelming law enforcement.
“Our fear was that people from outside of Shoshone County would attend the protest with the intent of causing violence/destroying public property, which in turn, had the potential of putting our kids in danger,” Lindsey wrote on the sheriff’s department Facebook page.
Deputies were at the school Friday for a peaceful, student-led protest supporting the student barred from graduation, the Spokesman-Review reported.
After deciding Friday afternoon to cancel the graduation, Kellogg officials did an about-face that evening. Originally planned for Saturday afternoon, the graduation was moved up to Saturday morning — at the same time as a Pride in the Park rally in Coeur d’Alene, an event that district officials believed would draw the same protesters who were targeting Kellogg’s graduation, the Spokesman-Review reported.
The graduation took place without incident, according to KHQ TV in Spokane.