The Lead-Deadwood School Board will review a policy limiting classroom displays and decorations at its Tuesday afternoon meeting.
The draft policy would prevent school employees from displaying materials and decorations on district property that depict “a controversial subject or political or religious messages.” Display materials may include, but are not limited to, signs, posters, flyers, banners, flags or decorations including images, symbols or text.
According to the policy, controversial documents include endorsing candidates, platforms, positions, political parties, or slogans; concepts, images, slogans or phrases which have appeared in the media and which have been associated with a controversy or movement or cause; and concepts, images, slogans or phrases that a reasonable person would find offensive, obscene or inflammatory.
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Superintendent Dr. Erik Person said the district does not currently have a policy regarding displays and decorations and believes it will not include stickers on employee cars in the parking lot.
“Our main goal is to teach children,” he said. “We just want to get back to that. We don’t have anyone indoctrinating children or any of those kinds of malicious accusations that are hot stuff that people say across the country.
Person, who is in his first year as superintendent of the Lead-Deadwood School District, said the district has employees who have different viewpoints, but at the end of the day everyone cares. children.
The person declined to comment on the origin of the policy, but said the policy addresses “the specific issue of what we have hung in classrooms.”
“This has been a burning issue not only in our school district but elsewhere,” he said. “The first reading of the policy tomorrow afternoon is intended to facilitate discussion at board level on how to deal with this in a view-neutral way. It does not favor one point of view or the other, and it allows us to refocus on academic matters.
According to the policy, the flag of the United States nor any other state flag in an unchanged form is considered controversial for the purposes of the policy. Materials, symbols, or other objects temporarily displayed in the classroom or other teaching areas are exempt from the policy as long as they are used as part of a lesson based on the approved curriculum and standards of content, and appropriate to the school and grade level. The clause does not exempt employees or the District from any law or policy prohibiting the teaching of divisive concepts.
If a district employee, student, or customer reports a suspected violation of the policy, they may report it to the building manager, who will make a decision within five school days. After the decision, the principal will ask the employee to remove the item or inform the employee that a complaint has been filed and that the item does not violate the policy. The director would also report to the complainant. The decision may be appealed within five school days by writing to the superintendent. The next appeal would be to the board of education and must be made within 10 days of notification of the superintendent’s decision.
If approved, for any employee who feels the policy is being applied unfairly, the district staff grievance procedure serves as an appeal process.
District policies require two readings and approvals by the school board, as well as standard publication, before taking effect.
The board will meet Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lead-Deadwood High School.