The Kettle Moraine School Board voted on August 16 overwhelmingly in favor of a policy that forbids district employees, including teachers, from displaying any political or religious messages. This policy prohibits, among other things, pride flags, Black Lives Matter signs, and signs in support of police. It also prohibits staff from including their pronouns in emails. According to USAToday, “Superintendent Stephen Plum recently told the board that the district’s interpretation of a policy that prohibits staffers from using their positions to promote partisan politics, religious views, and propaganda for personal, monetary, or nonmonetary gain changed following a legal analysis.” Despite vehement community opposition, the only board member who voted against this measure was Jim Romanowski, who previously supported the measure but says that he “changed his mind about the policy after hearing from students and staff.”
The policy, which is similar to one passed in Waukesha, has been criticized as an attack specifically on LGBTQ+ students and teachers, and has been said to discourage educators from designating themselves as “safe spaces” for queer youth in the district. While it does restrict displaying “Blue Lives Matter” and “Back the Blue” signs as well, forbidding the use of pronouns in emails has been criticized as a targeted measure to silence the LGBTQ+ community.