Westboro Picketing TN High School after Cheerleader Deaths

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A rural East Tennessee school system has canceled classes after a demonstration was planned by members of a Kansas church.

WATE-TV reported the schools are closed today because the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka announced it would stage a demonstration over the traffic crash deaths of four Scott County High School cheerleaders last month.

Schools director Sharon Wilson said it was inconceivable that anyone would say the deaths were divine retribution for the sins of the people in Tennessee, which the group is claiming.

Sheriff Anthony Lay said he expects the protesters will be met by a local group opposed to them and said he hopes both sides will be civil.