Marion High School student Logan Waner said he was told to paint over his rainbow flag parking spot, before the school reversed the decision. Now, the school board is doing away with the six-year tradition of seniors painting parking spaces. Courtesy photo Logan Waner
Marion High School student Logan Waner said he was told to paint over his rainbow flag parking spot, before the school reversed the decision. Now, the school board is doing away with the six-year tradition of seniors painting parking spaces. Courtesy photo Logan Waner

Education

He painted a symbol of gay pride. Now this Kansas high school’s tradition is over

By Jason Tidd

jtidd@wichitaeagle.com

December 16, 2017 06:00 PM

When Marion High School student Logan Waner painted a rainbow flag on his parking space, he didn’t intend to end a six-year senior tradition.

But earlier this week, after nearly three months of controversy, the tradition is over. The school board voted 4-3 Monday to end the practice of seniors painting their parking stalls, the Marion County Record reported.

Waner painted a rainbow flag — a symbol of LGBT pride — on his parking spot at the central Kansas school in September. A day later, Chuck Seifert of Marion showed up at a special school board meeting to complain to superintendent Aaron Homburg.

Confusion came when Waner posted on Facebook that principal Tod Gordon was requiring him to change his design — a claim Gordon denied. He said he had no specific guidelines for painting the spots and approved the design before it was painted.

Be the first to know.

No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story.

Waner kept his spot, but a vandal covered the public property with black latex asphalt sealer the next day.

“I knew there would be someone who would complain,” Waner said through Facebook Messenger. “It’s just human instinct. But I didn’t think all the controversy over one man’s complaint was necessary. It did prove a point though. I mostly chose to paint the flag because it’s simple enough and I’m a horrible artist. It described me well enough, so it just felt right.”

Designs on other parking spaces include Bible verses and an American flag inscribed with President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“In my opinion, more power to them,” Waner said. “If it’s how they choose to express themselves, then so be it. For someone to complain over someone else’s views is pure arrogance.”

Seifert, who raised the initial complaint, later said he parked over the spot during homecoming weekend to keep people from seeing it. He called the rainbow flag “graffiti on public property” at a school board meeting, the Record reported, and he said he opposed political statements on school property.

Gordon’s retirement — effective at the end of the school year — came at the same meeting.

A protest of the flag was organized in November, but more counter-protestors showed up than protestors. At the scene, Waner kissed a male friend from Wichita on a sidewalk between the protestors, his parking spot and students watching from school grounds.

Waner said students and the community want the tradition back.

“I've heard a few people talking about it, and they’re not too happy with the decision,” he said. “But I haven’t been blamed for the decision. I think all the blame is going toward the school board.”

A Colorado cake baker and the same-sex couple for whom he declined to make a wedding cake were all at the Supreme Court to witness arguments in the case. Speaking outside of court after the justices heard the case, baker Jack Phillips said the fiv

By