The Westboro Baptist Church Preaches at Thousand Oaks High School in Response to Mass Shooting


Greg Oler

On Feb. 4, Westboro Baptist Church picketed Thousand Oaks High school.

Greg Oler, Staff Writer

The Westboro Baptist Church picketed Thousand Oaks High School on Monday, Feb. 11 because of the recent mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill where 12 people were killed.

On Feb. 4, the church announced its plans to visit Thousand Oaks. “With praise and Thanksgiving on our lips, the followers of the one true Christ will preach His word and a message of repentance to students and faculty of Thousand Oaks High School after the mass shooting in November on Monday, February 11th from 6:30-7:00 AM. Lord willing!” said a PDF file released by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Since 1991, the Westboro Baptist Church has been preaching sermons all around the country. After the church announced their sermon at Thousand Oaks, information regarding additional gatherings across the state of California were released. Locations include the Oscars at Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Feb. 24 and both Sequoyah High School in Pasadena and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on Feb. 25.

However, when the Westboro Baptist Church arrived in front of Thousand Oaks High School, they were met by approximately 200 counter-protesters; including families, students, and activists from both Thousand Oaks and across Ventura County.

This response was not officially coordinated or planned. Some groups, like many student clubs at Thousand Oaks High School, had encouraged counter-protesters to show up but had no intention of drawing such a large crowd. The people of southern California conglomerated unprompted in front of Thousand Oaks High School since as early as five in the morning as a response to Westboro Baptist.

The counter-protesters peacefully confronted the Westboro Baptist Church upon their arrival. Even with the stiff protest, the Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing carried on regardless. Many counter-protesters expressed their heavy opinions against the church’s sermons and wanted to support their own community in the counter-protest, coming from across Southern California to participate.