“Anti-racist” and “rainbow” signage prohibited by newly drafted Arrowhead School Board Policy 335

The Arrowhead School Board has drafted a new policy entitled “Draft Policy 335: Controversial Topics, Inclusivity, and Signage.”  The full draft can be read here.  This policy has not been proposed at a board meeting yet; however, it is on the agenda for future items to be discussed at policy meetings.  The full list can be viewed here.


The draft contains a proposed “ban” on “anti racist classroom notations, rainbows,” and “Black Lives Matter” signage that is displayed on school grounds.  The policy does not apply to “attire” nor “items” owned by students under the condition that they are “not in conflict with the AHS dress code.”  


The next school board meeting will be held on June 14th in the South Campus Library at 7:00 PM.  All are welcome to attend and speak during times for public comment; the schedule can be viewed here.


The draft opens with a statement about “safe spaces” being indicated within the school.  Some classrooms have signage that specifies their classroom to be a “safe space” for the LGBTQ community.  Some classrooms that would be affected by this policy include N199 and N201.  This policy states that such signage is not “permitted” because “all areas of AHS are [safe spaces].


Signage not permitted in this draft is similar to a recent Kettle Moraine School Board decision to forbid “district employees” from displaying messages through “pride flags” and “Black Lives Matter signs (USA Today.).  Similarly, the Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton duet “Rainbowland” was prohibited from being sung by a school choir because it was not in accordance with their “Controversial Issues in the Classroom” policy (NBC News.)


Students have many thoughts on this drafted policy.


“The reason we have these signs…is because the whole school is not a safe space,” says Junior Emma Danes.


Junior Lily Liu agrees; she says that such “signage” prohibited in this policy “helps emphasize” which classrooms are places where a student can find a place where “they’re going to be accepted in the case of vulnerability.”  


Many “teachers have positive posters on their wall like this” and signage indicating that a room “is a safe space is the same kind of…type of poster, says Liu.


Junior Olivia Morse says that if “we’re going to have schools be an area” where “people can discuss what they believe in,” the limiting of “what people can have in their rooms diminishes the ability to fully captivate that aspect of education, the collaboration of thought.”


The policy allows “any variation of the American flag” and prohibits “anti-racist signage.”  


“Do they want racist stuff instead?” says an anonymous student.


Danes says that “the Blue Lives Matter flag is allowed but then the Black Lives Matter [signage] isn’t.  It’s so obvious what they’re trying to do here” and that the board is “trying to make [Arrowhead] more like a private school but this is a public school.”