Education

He was first told to paint over the rainbow in his parking spot

Marion County High School student Logan Waner was told to paint over his rainbow flag parking spot, before the school reversed the decision Wednesday.
Marion County High School student Logan Waner was told to paint over his rainbow flag parking spot, before the school reversed the decision Wednesday. Courtesy photo

Friends say Marion High School senior Logan Waner was told Tuesday to paint over his parking space – a space he had just painted with the rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT pride.

By Wednesday afternoon, the decision was reversed, according to Miran Stephenson, a friend and former classmate of Waner. Now, Waner will get to keep his rainbow parking spot.

“I’m so excited. I’m just really happy for my friend, honestly,” said Stephenson, who graduated from Marion High in 2015. “For them to just shut it down like that is just not OK.”

Waner, who is 17, said he couldn’t comment without parental permission.

Seniors at the high school get approval for their designs prior to painting the spot, a tradition that has been going on for several years.

Principal Tod Gordon said the story that has been spreading online is “not entirely right.”

Gordon said he had no problems with the spot design when he approved it, but that he later met with Waner to see if the design could be adjusted “to make sure there weren’t any problems with it.” Gordon would not say what adjustments they discussed.

“If that’s what he really wanted to do that’s fine,” Gordon said. “Social media took it to a different level and there was no need for it at all. I was just concerned for him because I didn’t want him to have any controversy at all.”

Marion is about 60 miles north of Wichita.

Seniors at the high school get approval for their designs prior to painting the spot, a tradition that has been going on for several years.

In previous years, students have painted Confederate flags, Bible verses and crosses, Stephenson said.

When asked about those previous parking spot designs, Gordon said, “I’m not going to get into those conversations.”

By telling Waner to paint over his parking spot, Stephenson said officials were essentially saying, “It’s not OK that you’re gay.”

More than 550 people signed a petition titled “Stand with Logan” that Stephenson started online. Members of the media had also contacted the school system prior to their decision to allow Waner to keep the rainbow flag painting after all, Stephenson said.

Erica Dvorak, who lives near the school, can see the parking spaces from her house and said she had noticed Waner working on the spot.

After about the second day of Waner working on the spot, Dvorak began to see on Facebook that people were calling the school to complain about it.

“And it bothered me that people have such little other important things to worry about than a young man painting his parking space,” Dvorak said in a Facebook interview. “He is an artist and he is proud of who he is. Why shouldn't he be allowed to express that?”

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess

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