Central Islip high school homecoming king issue draws protest

Bishop Donald Hudson, center, joins with other protesters

Bishop Donald Hudson, center, joins with other protesters as they carry signs outside of Central Islip High School in Central Islip, NY, Feb. 26, 2014. The protest was in response to Central Islip's School board's decision not to implement a policy pertaining to the election of homecoming king and queen. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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An hourlong protest Wednesday against the Central Islip school board's decision not to adopt a policy setting the gender of homecoming kings and queens drew shouts from students in the high school building and prompted a teacher to confront the group on their behalf.

Central Islip Senior High School student Faith Shepherd, 17, who said she came out as a lesbian when she was 13, was elected homecoming king last fall. Earlier this month, school board members shied away from adopting a policy that would have restricted the role of king to a male and queen to a female.

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Eight members of a group called the Christian Leadership Coalition, led by Bishop Donald Hudson, pastor of Common Ground Christian Life Church in Central Islip, walked in a small circle at the corner of the school property along Wheeler Road, starting at noon.

It didn't take long for some students to gather at the windows to watch. Some yelled "Go home!" while others posted signs up to the glass that read "We love Faith!" and "Grow up!"

Hudson, who called homosexuality "immoral" at the protest, said the school board had failed to correct the "problem" of letting a lesbian student be elected to a "traditionally male" role.

"We're here because something was done wrong and the question is, who's going to correct it?" Hudson said.

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Eric Perez, a ninth- and 10th-grade English teacher, stepped outside the school to talk to the protesters, who he said made some students feel "ostracized."

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