School district begins planning for WBC protest outside East High School
Sioux City school leaders are putting plans in place in advance of a protest planned by members of the Westboro Baptist Church outside East High School, next week.
In addition to a protest planned outside Sioux City city hall, on Monday, at 12:30 p.m., church members will rally outside East High at 1:45 p.m.
The rally in front of city hall is in response to the city council's appointment of Scott Raasch, who is gay, to the Human Rights Commission.
Church member Elizabeth Phelps says same sex marriage, which is legal in Iowa, is "just a satanic ploy to promote behavior that will be the death of this nation".
Sioux City's superintendent of schools, Dr. Paul Gausman, says church members are not allowed on school grounds. He says the district is working with Sioux City Police to make sure students are safe, and church members don't disrupt students' learning. The school will send out an automated phone message to make sure each family knows what is planned. "This situation presents an opportunity for us to model for our students and community how to handle challenging situations in life, and extend our understanding of the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly," Dr. Gausman said.
Gausman added the school does intend to have an increase police presence during that time. But, he doesn't plan to release the students early or keep them late to avoid the protest outside. Gausman says the day will go on as planned.
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