Westboro Baptist Church members planning protest in Kill Devil Hills

Posted at 8:03 PM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-21 20:03:52-04

Kill Devil Hills, NC - Jessen Howard is done with his AP exams, and his time at First Flight High School. He spent his first period today studying Westboro Baptist Church, trying to figure out why the group would be protesting at his school in Kill Devil Hills.

“Actually, the stuff they have written online is what we read up on. Our school is located on Veterans Drive. They don't like veterans. We're in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. They don't like Kill Devil Hills. They said it is because we have a gay-straight alliance club actually in the school,” says Howard.

The group known for its intolerance of homosexuality is planning to be outside the school June 1st. Police Chief Gary Britt said at first he wasn't concerned because there were just a handful of protestors coming. But once news of the Westboro protest got out…

“The phone started blowing up. The email started coming in from citizens who had found out about it. And they weren't too happy. At that point, I figured, yes, it's going to be bigger than 15 or 18 people,” says Britt.

Britt says he and his officers will have to walk a fine line. They'll protect the protestors, and also protect the rights of the Kill Devil Hills neighbors who gather against them.

“I just hope and pray everybody is peaceful,” Britt says.

A day earlier, the Westboro protesters will be at a church in Elizabeth City. Online the group said they will protest priests who have raped children.

For Howard in Kill Devil Hills, it's unwanted attention from an unwelcome group in his final days at this high school.

“Yeah, I just don't know how to take it. They're coming to my hometown just to make a show. We really don't have time for it,” says Howard.