DUNKERTON, Iowa — The high school principal who allowed the Christian rock band Junkyard Prophet to espouse anti-gay, anti-abortion views at a student assembly last week, is resigning, according to school district officials.
Mike Cooper, principal of Dunkerton High School, resigned Monday in the wake of growing controversy surrounding the appearance of Junkyard Prophet, but will remain in position through the end of the school year.
Superintendent Jim Stanton told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that Cooper’s decision is unrelated to the band’s appearance at the school assembly.
“He simply wants to be a superintendent,” Stanton said, acknowledging that the timing of the announcement suggested there might be a connection.
It was Cooper who recommended the district invite Junkyard Prophet to perform at the assembly, and said the plan had been “in the works” for nearly a month.
Students and faculty said the assembly last Thursday started well with music, and a message focusing on how some music can have a bad influence on kids, but following the performance, band members made offensive remarks about gays and transgender people, and told the girls they “were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins.”
The band is part of the “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International” Christian youth ministry founded by Bradlee Dean — that same day, the Southern Poverty Law Center added the “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International” ministry to its list of anti-gay hate groups.
Stanton said the group was invited to share “a very strong anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-alcohol” message, but many of their views didn’t conform to the district’s teaching of tolerance, and now acknowledges it was a mistake to invite them.
A reporter for the Courier told LGBTQ Nation that Cooper had declined to comment about his pending departure, nor did he respond Wednesday to inquiries by the Associated Press.