So. At work today, I found a bunch of hand copied versions of the Westboro's 'God hates fags' and 'Dyke Liberty' and 'Thank God for dead soldiers' posters. Copied by a kid of 16 and posted around for anyone to see.
Spotting them, I was offended and disturbed. So I left a note for the person in charge, letting them know that these poster were there, where they had been copied from, and that I found them offensive. I was disturbed by the fact that this kid obviously had access to the godhatesfags website, a website I find to be abhorrant - and in fact, apparently liked it enough to emulate it.
Of course - I admit that I don't know precisely why these posters had been copied. It could all be innocent - for example, they could have been copying them out for a project about hate groups or fundamentalism. But I err on the side of caution - I don't think the kid should go unchallenbged about this.
How does this make you feel? That a 16 year old kid has seen these posters and (possibly) liked them enough to copy them and hang them around? Would you have told the person in charge about it? Or ignored it? Do you think I did the right thing?
Returning to work today, I was pleased to be told that the kid in question had been spoken to. Turn's out they covered the Westboro's in a Religious Studies class last week, and the kid had thought the posters amusing.
It was described to me as 'one of those things' teenagers get up to. But the kid had been talked to and reminded that the posters are not something one should be emulating. (Apparently they had been told in class that anything to do with the Westboro's should be kept in class.)
Now - I'm still a little shocked by the kids actions. Yes, it turns out it was simply a bit of 'fun' on the kids part, related to an RS class. But the fact the kid finds it 'fun' is what is shocking to me. 16 years old is young, certainly, but old enough to realise that things like the posters the Westboro's churn out are hateful, derogatory, just plain nasty and hurtful.
I despair. But I hope the kid has learnt the lesson.
Either way, it's a better end to the little episode than I had worried about.