WAUKESHA, Wis. — Parents and students within the Waukesha School District once again made their voices heard Wednesday night during a school board meeting.
The stakeholders are urging the board to act on a decision made by district administration to remove signs supporting students within the LGBTQ+ community.
While discussing the ban wasn’t on the board’s agenda Wednesday, it was the most important thing to most parents who packed the meeting, with the goal of making sure all kids feel welcome in the classroom.
“I shouldn’t have to be this involved in the school board unless I thought something was fundamentally wrong,” said Samuel D’Amico, a high school freshman.
D’Amico, 15, organized the protest.
“[They’re] just little signs. They’re not doing anything to anyone,” said Abel Hernandez, a middle school student.
Inside more of the same, many with rainbow flags in-hand, speaking out after the district opted to remove pro-LGBTQ symbols from their classrooms.
The district cited the removal of what could be perceived as controversial symbols from schools.
Some parents were in support of the move.
“I believe children should not be bringing their sexual preferences, political or gender identities to school,” one parent said in the meeting.
Among those parents in protest was Father David Simmons of St. Matthias Episcopal Church.
“To have all of those symbols taken down was heartbreaking for both her and I,” he said, speaking of his daughter.
TMJ4 News sat with Simmons inside the pews of his church, where he opened up about his daughter, a first-year student at Waukesha West and member of the LGBTQ community.
He says she was a victim of intimidation two weeks ago, when another student defaced a pride flag.
“A group of students took one over to a table, took a pen, wrote Trump 2020 and Blue Lives Matter on the table in front of my daughter and her friends, who were all a part of that community,” Simmons recounted.
Simmons said he was told the student was disciplined. He isn't sure to the extent. However, he fears that such a decision to remove such flags could encourage people to perform acts of hate.
“My point is, this kind of thing happens, when you start trying to disappear a community. If you take down symbols - everybody knows as a symbol of protection for a persecuted minority, community - then those that are likely to bully that population are emboldened by that,” he said.
35 parents gave public comment in Wednesday’s board meeting.