Student artist hangs gay pride banner outside Maplewood high school

Columbia High School sophomore John Bell hung this gay pride banner from the clock tower of the school.

Columbia High School sophomore John Bell hung this gay pride banner from the clock tower of the school. (6/15/16)

MAPLEWOOD - An Essex County high school student’s project for Gay Pride Month has taken on a whole new meaning in the wake of the Orlando shooting massacre.

Sophomore John Bell hung a banner from the clock tower of Columbia High School in Maplewood that reads “Too Gay.” It was originally hung to help celebrate gay pride.

Bell says that as an artist he is challenging how people may view gay people.

“After Sunday when the Orlando shooting happened, it became kind of different and more powerful than it was before. I felt that it was more necessary for me to put it up,” he says.

Administrators at the school say that Bell has their full support.

“I imagine from the size and the complexity of the project that it was something that was worked on over several months. But it became especially powerful in light of what happened in Orlando. We’re very proud of him,” says Principal Elizabeth Aaron.

Some parents sending their kids to school Wednesday morning told News 12 New Jersey that they support the project's message of acceptance.

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