A counter-protester from a 2009 Westboro Baptist Church protest in Minneapolis (Photo: Erik Bahr / Photo courtesy Ben Egerman)
The Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Hastings on Sunday to picket a performance of the Laramie Project at Hastings High School.  Surprisingly, though, the response from counter-protesters and the school district is: “yawn.”

“Whether or not they actually show up,” Hastings School District Tim Collins told TheColu.mn, “we’re preparing for the standpoint that we know what our policy is as to where people are allowed to picket [on school grounds].”

“We’re not anticipating large numbers,” Collins added.  “We’ve met with our staff, and we will continue to move forward and take the high road. The performance will go on.”

Nonetheless, said Hastings resident Jake Schlichting, it’s important to make sure the conservative protesters don’t go unanswered, and is planning a “peaceful gathering” in response.  Schlichting is a graduate of Hastings High School, where he helped found a Gay Straight Alliance as a student in the mid-2000s.

“[A]fter going through my highschool experience, which wasn’t full of light, it’s important to show up and show the community that people do care,” he told TheColu.mn.  “Hate can overcome light real quickly.”

Schlichting said the gathering was a continuation of the GSA’s mission.

“Nothing that the WBC does really surprises me anymore,” he said.  “Honestly, I feel like they’re loosing their fire.”

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