A high school student in Idaho who voiced his belief in two genders has found himself at the center of a controversy. Travis Lohr, 18, made his comment during an assembly at Kellogg High School, where seniors traditionally offer advice to their juniors. Lohr’s comment that “girls are girls, and guys are guys, there is no in-between” triggered a chain of consequences, including being barred from his graduation ceremony and the subsequent loss of a job offer in firefighting.
Speaking from his heart, Lohr went off-script and was greeted with an “uproar of cheers.” The reaction of his peers suggested an alignment with his beliefs, but the school administration saw it differently.
“Guys are guys and girls are girls. There is no in-between.”
Over 100 students and parents at Kellogg High School in Idaho walked out in protest after the school banned senior Travis Lohr from its graduation ceremony after he made the above statement.pic.twitter.com/F2ntRLOJCU
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) June 2, 2023
Following his comment, more than 100 parents, students, and community members protested against the school’s decision to exclude Lohr from the graduation ceremony, which many see as a suppression of free speech. In addition, Dakota Mailloux, a local bus driver, lost his job after joining the protest, indicating a broader concern about the potential ripple effect of expressing personal views.
However, the repercussions didn’t stop at the graduation ceremony. Lohr, set to start work as a firefighter combating wildland forest fires, had his offer rescinded by his prospective employer. This incident echoes a prevailing concern among conservatives regarding the encroachment on free speech and individual rights.
Lohr expressed his belief that his punishment would not have been meted out had he voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement, shedding light on the perceived ideological bias. His experience has, in turn, sparked a conversation on free speech, its boundaries, and its consequences. It has also underscored what constitutes acceptable public discourse in our educational institutions.
Despite the setback, Lohr remained defiant. “What I said I believe in, and I stand by it,” he told Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy in a Sunday interview. Moreover, he remains optimistic, expressing a determination to learn and grow from the experience.
On the other hand, Kellogg School District Superintendent Lance Pearson, citing safety concerns, called for a delay in the graduation ceremony, eventually held behind closed doors. This move raises the question of whether security concerns should trump preserving free speech.
This incident has caught the attention of Idaho State Rep. Heather Scott (R), who took to Twitter to express her anger, describing Lohr’s original statement at the assembly as a “scientific fact.”
With incidents like these highlighting a growing tension between individual rights and collective ideals, one has to wonder about the future of free speech in schools. Today, it’s a comment on gender; tomorrow, it might be a statement on another politically charged topic. A balance must be struck to ensure free speech is maintained without compromising the principles of mutual respect and dignity.