Skip to main content

Students at Annandale High School staged a walkout in response to district officials pushing back on LGBTQ+ signs hanging inside the school.

The signs in question were created by the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, a student group that aims to provide safe and inclusive spaces for those who are looking for support.

Freshman Landon Nelson told Bring Me The News the signs were created months ago to make LGBTQ+ students feel welcomed, but said district leaders called the signs "too political" 

Safe Space Annandale High School poster.

The "Safe Space" sign in question at Annandale High School.

Nelson said the signs came about because LGBTQ+ students were experiencing verbal abuse about their sexual orientation or gender.

The "safe space" signs see the high school's mascot logo superimposed over a rainbow background. Nelson said teachers could hang them in their classrooms if they wished, but were "never pressured to do so."

"These signs made LGBTQ+ students feel safe and welcomed, and they allowed students to know which teachers or staff they could go to when they needed someone to talk with," Nelson said.

Nelson claims that Superintendent Tim Prom told him the signs don't represent "other minorities such as students in poverty or students with parents going through a divorce," and said the school was looking to remove and replace them.

He says alternative posters were proposed that would replace the rainbow with the school's colors and replacing the words "Safe Space" with "All Are Welcome." 

The school says it did not order the signs be removed, but the district did acknowledge that its attorneys felt that LGBTQ+ was a "political topic" and has been seeking a more "inclusive" alternative.

About 50 students and community members joined in the walkout on Wednesday, the first day of Pride Month.

The group marched to the district office around 12:20 p.m. Nelson claims the walkout ended with school staff asking those who participated in the walkout to take pride-related apparel off, "without any reason," according to Nelson.

Steve Sherber, Principal at Annandale High School, provided the following statement provided to Bring Me The News:

"During our ongoing discussions with our student GSA group, some students let us know that they intend to conduct a walk out today. The District supports these students’ rights under the First Amendment to speak and gather peacefully and safely. The School District supports our GSA students and we want to continue the dialogue and work with our entire student population so that all students are safe and welcomed.

"One issue that we’ve been discussing is a Safe Space sign. Those signs have not been removed from our Schools. We have been discussing a more inclusive message for signage in our classrooms with this group but no decisions have been reached with the GSA, other student groups, and staff as of now. 

We take any concerns of harassment brought to our attention, very seriously and act promptly to correct any misbehavior.

We are working with a consulting firm to gain more education and training on equity for our students and staff which will be key to continue moving all of us forward. 

"The Safe Space signs have not come down and they will not come down until we reach a consensus with all student groups that the district represents."

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been edited to reflect the correct name of the principal of Annandale High School.

Next Up

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.

Disney+

Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.

SuspectsWantedMOAShooting

Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Walz: Increased state law enforcement presence to stay in Twin Cities

A multi-agency effort to curb crime will go on until further notice.

SuspectsWantedMOAShooting

Bloomington PD to provide update on Mall of America shooting investigation

There's unconfirmed reports the suspected gunman and an accomplice have been arrested.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 3.14.27 PM

Motorcyclist found dead behind guardrail 6 hours after crash

The crash happened before sunset Wednesday, but no one called 911.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 2.49.44 PM

Strike vote set for 15,000 Minnesota nurses

If the nurses walk off the job, Minnesota would be home to one of the largest nurses strikes in U.S. history.

DSC_8611

Iowa Gov. asks court to lift injunction on 'heartbeat' abortion ban

A court challenge seeks to revive Iowa's abortion ban.

zipper merge, construction

6 transportation projects in Minnesota get $100M federal funding

The projects extend to areas all across the state.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 9

The number of cases in the latest reporting period dropped compared to the previous week's update.

Related

Students and staff members with Minneapolis Public Schools gather for a rally in response to the mass shooting last week in Uvalde, Texas.

Twin Cities students, staff walk out in protest of gun violence

The protest is in response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

rainbow flag lgbtq gay pride

Students criticize Becker School Board for allowing anti-LGBTQ presentation

The community questioned why the school board needed to hear the "other side" of LGBTQ rights.

39513397825_ed790f026e_k

Statewide student walk-out planned to protest gun violence

A march and rally are also planned in downtown Minneapolis.

Here are all the schools where students will stage walkouts on Wednesday

Minnesota schools will join a national walkout protesting the lack of action on guns.

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

2 years since George Floyd's killing, Biden signs exec order on policing

The signing comes on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder by police in south Minneapolis.

Students plan national walkout in protest over lack of action on guns

Two protests are being planned over the next two months.

edina racism

Edina students stage walkout, demand district do more after racist video shared online

Students are calling for change to prevent future incidents from happening.