WAUKESHA — Dozens of parents, teachers and students rallied before the School District of Waukesha's board meeting Wednesday night.
Many were opposed to anew policy handed down in August by the superintendent. The policy directed teachers to take down signs in classrooms that represented Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Thin Blue Line, Anti-Racism Classroom and more, including rundown pride flags.
“Seeing signs 'racism isn’t welcome' sends a message; taking down the signs also sends a message,” said one parent. A student who spoke to the board echoed those sentiments, saying “when the signs are taken down, it will make kids feel like the school doesn’t care as much about them.”
The policy was handed down by Superintendent Dr. James Sebert, who issued this statement about the decision to TMJ4 News.
“Our goal in the School District of Waukesha is to focus on the social, emotional and academic growth of every student. We can do that without signage that can be perceived as advocating for a political position and/or lending itself to advocacy beyond the scope of the curriculum. It's our efforts in building solid relationships with kids, especially early in the school year, that creates welcoming classrooms and school cultures. We also need to cultivate those relationships with our kids throughout the year to ensure a solid school experience. Our teachers, administrators and staff excel in this area.”
The issue was not an action item on the meeting agenda, but was briefly discussed. Board member Anthony Zenobia said he agreed with the removal of the signs, but added “I don’t believe anyone on this board for one second would say that not every kid in this school district matters.”
The district’s Policy Committee will discuss the issue at a Tuesday, Sept. 21 meeting.