Linn-Mar students protest over vandalized posters amid concerns of safety and white supremacy

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:01 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Just under 300 students in Linn-Mar High School walked out of class on Friday for dueling rallies after posters were vandalized. Linn-Mar administration approved those posters in support of Transgender Awareness Week.

A majority of students came to promote and support students who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. But, students and parents said the protests come at a time where there is an increased concern over student safety within the school. Both students and parents said chants of “White Power” occur in the school often, and they’ve seen posts on social media about people bringing weapons to school.

Madison Godbey, who is a student at Linn-Mar High School, said in a text message to TV9, students who are LGBTQIA+ don’t feel safe in school. She wrote the posters being vandalized and tearing down a transgender flag to place an American flag make other students feel unsafe in the classroom.

“All I have to say is Linn-Mar can do better because right now they aren’t doing anything to make this any better,” Godbey wrote.

Sydney Rose, who is a freshman at Linn-Mar High School, said she hears people use anti-gay slurs in school every day. She was also at the protest and said the last week in Linn-Mar has created a strange environment for students.

Around 10 students held a smaller counter-protest at the school too. Those students sang the star-spangled banner and waved flags supporting former President Donald Trump. Lane Wiseman, who is a Linn-Mar student, was waving an American flag, which he called the “original pride flag.”

“They’re out there celebrating their pride,” he said, “We’re out here doing the same thing.”

The Linn-Mar School District didn’t directly answer TV9′s questions about racist chants in the school building. However, it did send us a statement sent to high school parents. The statement from Jeff Gustason, who is the Linn-Mar High School Principal, acknowledged an “active” social media presence before the two protests.

“We know that social media was quite active before the rallies, and we worked to ensure that there was no basis to some of the postings that were being sent,” he wrote.

Guaston also wrote the school would have acted like there was a threat, if there was any indication of a real and pronounced threat. The Marion Police Department and Fire Department were at the school when the protests occurred.

Amy Jackson, who said her step-son is a freshman at Linn-Mar High School, said she’s heard about the chants of “White Power” in the school along with other racial issues in the classroom. She said she’s frustrated with the school district not dealing directly with these issues.

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