Controversy at Lead-Deadwood High School surrounds a potential new policy

Concerned community members voiced their opinions on the matter
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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LEAD, S.D. (KOTA) - “I just really don’t want to see this school district move backwards,” said a former graduate from Lead-Deadwood High School.

Emotions were high at Lead-Deadwood High School as the first discussion on limiting classroom displays too place.

This stems from concern over teachers hanging ‘safe zone’ signs in their classrooms indicating support for LGBTQ students.

“My goal for these signs, in my own room, is to show every single student that walks through my doors that this is a safe place to learn and grow,” explained one teacher.

“And if we take them down, I’m afraid that someone that did feel safe and welcome will get the opposite of that,” expressed another teacher.

However, it was argued that school isn’t the place to have these signs and schools should be free from political and religious propaganda.

“There should not be Trump flags or Biden flags. There should not be Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter propaganda. There should not be pro-choice or pro-life posters. There should not be buddha statues or crucifixes. There should not be gay pride flags or straight pride flags. Students should not be forced to accept one side or another on controversial issues such as these. Their education on provocative topics should be age appropriate and approved by their parents,” argued a concerned teacher.

“If my daughter can go to a safe zone teacher to discuss LGBTQ issues without my knowledge to a teach who may or may not explain it to her in the way that is in accordance with our family beliefs, than my daughter should also be able to identify a Christian teacher who she can pray with,” voiced a concerned parent in favor of the potential policy.

One student claims her education is affected by teacher’s displaying their standings on controversial topics and said, “school is a place in which students are to learn and gain an education and other students like me cannot do so when are subjected to a teacher’s standings on controversial topics. If teachers aren’t allowed to post Christian or conservative materials in their classroom or initiate prayer with a student, then they should also not be allowed to put up LGBTQ or other controversial materials in their classroom or initiate talk about the subject with a student.”

A frequently discussed topic was the higher suicide rate within the LGBTQ community.

“There’s nothing worse than going to a child’s funeral who’s committed suicide,” a community members said.

According to the CDC, youth in grades 7-12 that are lesbian, gay, or bisexual were twice as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

“One of the simplest ways to combat these horrific statistics is to display a safe zone sign on your door or in an area a child can see. As a safe zone trainer, we were taught that is the most discreet, nonpolitical, non-divisive and simplest way to protect the health of our youth,” explained another.

While critics say that this policy would effectively erase acknowledgement and support for marginalized students, Superintendent Dr. Erik

Person said the goal of this potential policy would be to address the issue in a way that is view-point neutral.

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