Education

This group didn’t let vandals ruin their tribute to Transgender Day of Remembrance

A group of students and parents repainted Capital High School’s spirit rock on Monday after the group’s earlier message about Transgender Day of Remembrance was vandalized.
A group of students and parents repainted Capital High School’s spirit rock on Monday after the group’s earlier message about Transgender Day of Remembrance was vandalized. Arne Morgan

A group of students and parents recently painted a rock at Capital High School in Olympia with a pride flag and the words “Transgender Day of Remembrance 11/20.”

Then it was vandalized.

Known as “spirit rock,” the large rock on campus is a popular place for clubs, sports teams and other school groups to paint messages, according to Olympia School District spokeswoman Susan Gifford. As long as they aren’t derogatory messages, they can stay up until they are painted over, she said.

Most recently spirit rock featured a memorial to late student and football player Chris Heay, who died April 28 after battling a rare form of cancer.

The group left about 80 percent of that memorial, which included the words “Capital” with two gold hearts, according to parent Arne Morgan.

“While we were painting, we had a minor confrontation with some students who went away after we told them we had permission and were leaving most of it intact,” Morgan told The Olympian. “Within about two hours somebody jumped the fence and painted over it.”

About a dozen people gathered on Monday afternoon to repaint the rock. They repainted the flag and shortened the message to “#TDOR 11/20.” Morgan described it as a great experience.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on Nov. 20 to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, according to GLAAD.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433, @Lisa_Pemberton

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