WINFIELD, W.Va. (WOWK) — It was a packed house at the Putnam County School Board meeting Tuesday night but the hot-button issue wasn’t on the agenda.
A controversy surrounding LGBTQ+ posters that were taken down in one high school recently has sparked a debate on whether they should be allowed to be posted.
Many of the signs in question say “safe spaces” with rainbow backgrounds and according to teachers like Wendy Fife, they have been in classrooms at Hurricane High School for years.
Fife’s son, Evan Mann, is a sophomore at the high school and is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
“These signs in schools let people know that they have a safe space in school even if they don’t have it at home,” Mann said.
Now, those signs are gone because school officials say they violated the district’s policy for displaying outside political views in a classroom setting.
This was followed by a crowd of people approaching the school board Tuesday night saying the signs should not be considered political.
“I have this very political sign here. I’m obviously being sarcastic. It’s in black and white,” Fife says referring to a sign that she previously had posted in her classroom.
However, not everybody in the audience was against this. Some, like Douglas Doss, say they believe the action was justified.
“If you’re in a public school that’s being paid for with tax dollars. There are Muslims, there are Christians, there are poor people, there are blacks, there are whites, there are gays, there are many people who can feel rejected in many different ways and you can’t try and push an agenda for any of them,” Doss said, referring to the signs.
The school board declined to comment further on the issue following the meeting. It’s unclear if there will be any policy changes in the near future.