Controversy springs up from speaker at Vicksburg school
VICKSBURG, Mich. —
A presentation by an activist at Vicksburg High School on Tuesday week prompted outrage on social media and an apology from school administrators.
Newschannel 3's Anna Giles spoke with the Vicksburg Superintendent Charles Glaes about the controversy.
The school claims they brought in a speaker on Tuesday who ended up talking about unapproved "overly political" topics.
People on both sides of the issue are speaking out and some say the school made a bad choice. Others had no problem with the speech at all.
What was supposed to be a school assembly about accepting people of all backgrounds backfired at Vicksburg High School. Dozens of parents and students using social media to call the assembly speaker's message, "agenda pushing."
Glaes said, “Things came up that made kids feel uncomfortable that maybe was crossing the line but we shouldn't have put kids in that position."
Glaes says the speaker did not stick to a pre-approved outline agreed upon with the school.
He says the speaker's background caused issues for students, specifically being conceived from rape.
Ryan Bomberger, the speaker, is shocked by the reaction to his presentation.
"I stuck to the school approved outline to a T.” He said, "We talked about how every human life has purpose, how every human being is equal and taking the time out to speak hope and life into others."
Bomberger is part of an organization called The Radiance Foundation. Their website contains religious and anti-abortion messages.
Some students took issue with this, posting on Instagram they were forced to listen to political views.
Bomberger said, “There was no religion we talked about, no mention of abortion, no mention of pro-life or pro-choice or LGBT, anything. We stayed away from any of that language."
Vicksburg High School senior Austin Pryor attended the speech and says Bomberger implied anti-abortion themes.
Pryor said, “I guess what he said wasn't ‘that’s bad,’ but when you Google his name and see he's homophobic and hateful like that, I don't really think you can bring that kind of person into a school."
Some on social media backing the speaker, thanking him for coming to Vicksburg and starting a constructive conversation.
School leaders didn't see things that way they issued an apology to parents on Facebook.
The superintendent says that takeaway was supposed to be that every person has value and can make a difference in their community.
Glaes said, “We just need to avoid anybody who has an overtly political stance so that that doesn't get in the way."