Students, protestors square off outside Mt. Si High School

Students, protestors square off outside Mt. Si High School
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- A national day of silence to show support for gay and lesbian students turned into a day of protests Friday.

Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie has been surrounded all morning by people on both sides of a silent demonstration.

There's also heavy security, making sure students and staff are the only ones getting on campus.

Two groups have been out there since 7 a.m. -- one group in support; the other against the day of silence.

It's what faced Baker before he hit the school door.

"I just think it's all ridiculous," he said. "If you're going to protest, then protest but... there's just too many people."

First, parents lined up with sealed lips outside the school in silent support of everyone taking part of the National Day of Silence.

"The kids are doing the right thing," said parent Sharon Buzzard. "In our society, we don't tell our kids enough when they are doing the right things, but we're quick to tell them when they are doing the wrong things."

Later, a group against the day of silence, led by anti-gay rights activist and parent, Rev. Ken Hutcherson, were condemning the day of silence as day of disruption.

"Get back to educating our kids," he said.

About 200 out of 1,400 students volunteered not to speak Friday.

The school says about 500 students chose not to come to school at all to avoid all of the controversy, which disappointed to the school principal.

Reverend Hutcherson and his supporters said they were there because they didn't think school is the place for a demonstration about sexuality.

However, school officials think Hutcherson's stand may be pay-back after teachers, since disciplined, heckled him at a civil rights assembly. And the school says Friday's tolerance should be a lesson to both students and parents alike.

"The reverend is going to do what he's going to do," said Mt. Si High School principal Randy Taylor. "We certainly are disappointed that he's taken this form of protest on a student-initiated, student-organized activity."

Seventeen of 19 high schools in King County participated in the National Day of Silence, but none of the other schools had any of the tense moments seen in Snoqualmie.

Taylor says they school will look at the events of Friday and consider whether they want to participate in the event again next year.