Group known for hate speech to protest outside Maui high school

Group known for hate speech to protest outside Maui high school
Supporters of the Rev. Fred Phelps, of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrate outside the funeral service for Marine Lance Cpl. Rex Arthur Page, Sunday, July 9, 2006, in Kirksville, Mo. This week, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a new law that places additional restrictions on protests at funerals. (AP Photo/The Kirksville Daily Express, Al Maglio) (Source: AL MAGLIO)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - School officials on Maui are warning parents and students about a planned protest Friday involving an organization described as one of the most rabid hate groups in America.

The Westboro Baptist Church ― headquartered in Topeka, Kansas ― is known across the country for its infamous anti-LGBT, antisemitic and Islamaphobic demonstrations. Group members have also been seen holding signs that read ‘God Blew Up The Troops’ and ‘God Hates America.’

In a statement, the group wrote last month that it was planning to protest a transgender student being allowed to play on the girls’ volleyball team at Maui High School. The demonstration is scheduled for between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

School officials on Maui sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday, warning them that the Westboro protesters are expected to try and goad students and family members into provocation.

“Direct engagement and counter-demonstrations are not encouraged as the protesters have a history of antagonizing others into anger in an attempt to generate outrage and notoriety for themselves,” the letter said.

“Altercations with counter-demonstrators in past protests have led to lawsuits that help such groups to persist,” it continued.

Instead, parents are being asked to drop their kids off early to school and clear the area. Classrooms will be opened early to facilitate the earlier arrival of students.

The school will also be beefing up to security and plans to have counselors on hand in case students become distressed by the demonstrations.

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