Chick-fil-Watch What You Say: Parents Author Problematic Posts

Kayla Barker

“Chick-Fil-A Funds Anti-LGBTQIA+ Organizations”

In light of students voicing their concerns in regards to Campolindo using Chick-fil-A, a fast-food company infamous for donating to anti-LGTBQ+ organizations, the Leadership class has rescheduled the senior drive-through. Given the recent efforts of our district to pump out new diversity and equity training, employing a vendor such as Chick-fil-A is an insult to the LGTBQ+ community on our campus.

I’ve already had some strained conversations with students who were disappointed they wouldn’t get their free Chick-fil-A. It seems that some believe that because Campo has catered numerous past tailgates and other events with the company, it’s okay to continue to purchase hundreds of meals from them, multiple times a year. While Campo has utilized Chick-fil-A for a number of school-wide events in our history, this in no way validates the previous decisions to provide monetary support to a company with such a disturbing agenda: to minimize and invalidate the basic human rights of others.

But what frightens me the most about this situation is the uproar I’ve seen in the comment sections of Nextdoor Neighbor, an app frequented by members of our community to communicate about local events. These remarks ultimately contribute to the toxicity of our community, and I hope parents realize the weight and consequences of their words.

In light of Leadership’s decision to postpone the drive-through, 1 parent demanded that students research the falsity of the homophobic allegations against Chick-fil-A. “It’s great food served by cheerful employees who have a high standard of service. Get to the facts instead of rhetoric,” the post read.

I find this commentary immensely ironic, as I conducted my own “quick Google search,” as the user suggested we all do, and dozens of articles detailing Chick-fil-A’s bigotry and history of discrimination loaded into my browser. For example, according to Vox, Chick-fil-A donated $1.8 million in revenue to infamous homophobic organizations in 2017 alone. 1 of these organizations that Chick-fil-A donated to, known as the Paul Anderson Youth Home, would teach young children that homosexuality was “rage against Jesus Christ and His values.”

Through creating the nonprofit WinShape organization, Chick-fil-A’s founder S. Truett Cathy “made a conspicuous habit of donating to groups committed to preventing the cultural acceptance of homosexuality and, more urgently, to halting the move toward legalizing same-sex marriage,” wrote Chicago Booth Review.

To deny the validity of the actual documented proof of Chick-fil-A’s history of financial transitions with homophobic, bigoted charities is simply ludicrous. You can’t just label every article that triggers an amygdala hijack as fake news; if everyone in our society lived by this, there’d be no news, period.

Questioning the validity of student knowledge regarding these sorts of issues rather than the actions of Chick-fil-A’s management is a microaggression itself. Adults tell themselves that no 14-18 year old could possibly be correct or adequately informed on human rights issues, which have become such touchy subjects for the misinformed and biased members of our society given the polarization of our political climate. But posting these kinds of ignorant, harmful comments on Nextdoor invalidates the voices and feelings of any LGTBQ+ students who do not support Chick-fil-A. I grow more and more disappointed in the moral standards and actions of our community each day.

Finally, this Nextdoor user blatantly dismisses there being an argument that Campo should find a new vendor for the drive-through, using their own past experiences with the restaurant to minimize the proven ugliness of this company.

To say that Chick-fil-A’s repulsive history is negated by their speed of service is an enormous slap in the face to the LGTBQ+ community as a whole, and by association, the Campolindo student body.

“I was upset that parents would prioritize the seniors getting the food that they want over all the students at Campo feeling safe and welcome,” said senior Mackenzie Bunzel-Hardie, 1 of the students who led the effort to compel those in charge of the drive-through to opt for a non-oppressive vendor.

To say that Chick-fil-A’s repulsive history is negated by their speed of service is an enormous slap in the face to the LGTBQ+ community as a whole, and by association, the Campolindo student body.”

— Nicole Kennedy

Bunzel-Hardie “was extremely upset and outraged” by posts she had seen on Nextdoor, yet “wasn’t surprised.”

I urge the adults of our community to not comment such ignorant things online and to do their research before taking to the internet. We can see your posts and are thoroughly disappointed. Not everyone has the privilege of not having to worry about the status of their basic human rights being revoked or belittled by companies like Chick-fil-A.

Another user wrote, “The students who don’t support Chick Fil A could have gladly not participated in the event instead of canceling it for the hopeful and hungry seniors.”

To clarify, this drive-through was intended to provide free Chick-fil-A to the seniors, using funds from their class’s budget. As these accounts are spent in representation of the interest of our senior class and requires the approval of the administration for each event, it’s unacceptable for our district to advertise their efforts to make Campolindo a safer place for people of every creed, gender, sexual orientation, race, and gender while paying companies like Chick-fil-A.

According to Leadership student and senior Noel Seo, the finalized budget Leadership intended to spend on catering the senior drive-through would fall between $1000-1500; this is a lot of dough to go straight into the pocket of the high-ups at Chick-fil-A, some of whom are the same people who made the decision to divert funds to homophobic organizations in the 1st place.

Additionally, if it’s so important for students to attend these kinds of senior events, what would be the point in holding an activity only a portion of the senior class would be willing to participate in? This defeats the purpose of building morale, which is the purpose of these drive-throughs in the 1st place.

Parents: tread carefully with your posts, and please do not speak on behalf of the 2021 senior class.

At this point, we are so used to disappointments and postponements and waiting, the reschedule of a singular drive-through doesn’t phase us. The rhetoric “hungry and hopeful seniors” is a bit presumptuous, to say the least, and although I realize Lamorinda parents want happy high school experiences for their children, throwing a pity party for us on Nextdoor is not conducive to easing our pain.

In fact, reading these posts only further depressed me about the vortex of injustice and natural disasters that have become today’s society.

While I understand some seniors were hopeful that we’d have more events and fun this fall, I think it’s fair of me to say that the missed chance to drive to the Senior Lot is pretty low on the list of things keeping us up at night. We are far more preoccupied worrying about if we can even take an SAT/ACT, if we will have a more difficult time getting into college, or if we’ll ever get to experience our senior seasons of Campo sports.

If your child really wanted Chick-fil-A that badly, they could just go get some. However, I’d like to point out why, even beyond the scope of this senior drive-through situation, we as consumers shouldn’t support Chick-fil-A – period.

If you think a chicken sandwich is more valuable than another human being’s rights, then you seriously need to reevaluate your problematic, poisonous perspectives. We cannot let instances of hate slide by; hating on the students who were brave enough to speak up or complaining about how the district should have gone through with the drive-through in a comment section is despicable and cowardly.

We as a generation are progressing forward. Insensitive posts or words do not fly, so either get on board or be left in the dust.

My intent with all of this is not to lash out at the parents in our community or stereotype that all parents feel this way about the drive-through postponement. However, if you have found yourself or others reacting poorly in this situation or in similar ones, speak up. You can best help your kids feel supported during these times by advocating for them and their peers.

So, if you as a parent or student have thought or said something problematic given this recent situation, I urge you to learn from your mistakes and try to conduct yourself in a more respectful manner online.