Arrowhead Policy Committee to discuss 'safe spaces' sign prohibition proposal Tuesday

NOW: Arrowhead Policy Committee to discuss ’safe spaces’ sign prohibition proposal Tuesday

HARTLAND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- An Arrowhead district board committee is set to meet Tuesday, June 20 to resume discussion over a policy proposal to prohibit signs indicating a "safe space" or displays such as Pride flags and others.

The proposal states, "no signage, or other wording implying that a certain area is a 'safe space' (or anything similar to this) are permitted, as all areas of [Arrowhead High School] are, and should be considered safe spaces."

It goes on to say any display, "denoting a division of race, ideology, sexual orientation, gender preference, or political affiliations are not permitted to be displayed," on school grounds.

In a June 8 meeting, the district's policy committee chose to hold off on a vote in order to discuss the proposal with legal counsel.

The committee is scheduled to revisit the issue at 6:45 a.m., Tuesday, June 20 at the district office at the high school's south campus. The group will convene in closed session before going into open session.

CBS 58 spoke with parents on both sides of the issue ahead of the meeting.

"I think that they all struggle," Danica Clarkson, a parent with children in the district who is in favor of the proposal, said of students at Arrowhead. "I don't think specific children should be focused on, I think all kids, if they're struggling, should be helped."

Clarkson told CBS 58 certain displays bring politics into the classroom and highlight one group of students over others. She added along with prohibiting certain displays and focusing on academics, the district should cultivate a culture against bullying against all students.

"I feel if we're going to do a safe space for a particular group, why don't we do safe spaces for all groups or otherwise get rid of all the safe spaces?" Clarkson said. "Let the whole school be a safe space for everyone, not just specific groups."

Other parents disagree.

"The policy is not coming from a place where the students or the administration or stakeholders have asked for this, and we think it's unfairly targeting a certain population of students," Darcy Sobczak, a parent of Arrowhead District students, said in an interview.

Sobczak said the "safe space" label at the center of debate should be considered open to all students. But, she added, prohibiting such signs or symbols puts LGBTQ students, in particular, at risk of isolation.

"These kids, they need some place to go," Sobczak said. "If they don't know who's around them that's safe, they need some place to go."

The policy committee's June 20 meeting agenda can be found here:

The proposal, in its current form, can be found here:

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