Early Monday morning a student sent a simple text to his mom.
“Can I leave school today? Everyone is in gay flags and the gays are taking over,” it read. “They are handing out gay stickers and donuts. You should let me leave.”
This picture was sent from an unidentified student, confirming what was happening.
The text asking if the student could leave school was sent to Robert Michael’s wife. It came from his stepson, a ninth-grade student at Peet Junior High in Cedar Falls.
“We hightailed it right back down to the school,” Michael said. “As we pulled up, they were pretty much getting everything loaded up. I turned the video camera on as soon as we got out of the car.”
The video speaks for itself. (Story continues after video)
In it, state Sen. Eric Giddens and his wife, Kendra Wohlert, explained they were trying to welcome all the students.
In addition to donuts, students were being given rainbow stickers and other stickers and/or flags of different colors that represented different sexual preferences, according to Michael.
“This all to me is ridiculous,” Michael said. “I don’t even understand half of it.”
Giddens is a former member of the Cedar Falls school board.
“It’s pretty pathetic,” Michael said. (Giddens) of all people should know better. Like the video shows, he did not want to tell me his name. In my opinion, the fact he did not want to tell me his name like he did, and as uncomfortable as he was when we first encountered him, it shows he knew this was wrong. It was a silent admission that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He was really nervous and wanted to get out of there. He was trying to flee for the bathroom.”
Michael said when that Iowa Senate seat is up, whoever runs against Giddens will have his full support.
“I’m going to stump for them,” Michael said. “I’m going to knock on doors for them. I’m going to do whatever I can to help him get ousted.”
Wohlert’s Facebook page says she teaches music at Southdale Elementary in Cedar Falls. However, she is not listed on the district’s website as an employee. She proudly explains she’s a teacher and that the group had the school’s permission to do what it did.
School officials, though, never told parents this would be happening — that adults would be manning tables handing students donuts and rainbow stickers and whatever the different colored flags and stickers meant for different sexual preferences.
Bill Boevers, the principal, said he approved the event. Boevers said it was requested by a new group at the school. When Michael asked for the name of the group, Boevers said there wasn’t a name.
Michael spoke with Boevers for about a half hour the next day.
“He admitted the buck stopped on his desk,” Michael said. “He claimed one of the school counselors (Theresa Kenser) approached him about two weeks ago about having a welcome everyone, back-to-school kind of thing.
“He admitted he knew this would be a rainbow-themed thing. He denied having any coordinated efforts with the senator or with Wohlert.”
Michael said he asked if he could do a Second Amendment rally at the school. Boevers allegedly told him he’d have to think about it.
“That is in our Constitution,” Michael said. “But they let something let this go unabated.”
Other parents have thanked Michael for standing up and speaking out.
“We’re a conservative family,” he said. “We respect everybody, but we’re not on board with the whole LGBTQ thing. We’re not going to discriminate against anybody, but we’re not comfortable with having the gay crap pushed down his throat.”
Michael said he hopes to see school officials disciplined — or even terminated. He sent an email Tuesday morning to the Superintendent, but has not received any response.
“But that’s probably a far-fetched idea,” he said. “The most realistic thing I’d like to see is that it doesn’t happen again, bringing in an outside group on school grounds like that — it’s uncalled for.”
Michael was skeptical that a “student group” led all of this. He said adults were manning the tables. He thinks Giddens had all the tables loaded into his truck when Michael arrived. And, there’s this Facebook picture of Wohlert with the caption of “our fearless leader.”