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The Iowa Standard told you about the chaos that ensued at Linn-Mar High School during “Trans Week.” If you missed it, read about it here.

Parents in the district have expressed additional concern with the school due to what transpired in the high school auditorium, on stage, after a walkout by the “Spectrum” group and its allies.

While other students displayed an LGBTQ Pride flag on stage, it appears two female students made out in front of others.

All of this reportedly took place during school hours.

The Iowa Standard sent an email to each board member of the district as well as the high school principal called Jeff Gustason.

Only one board member responded directly to The Iowa Standard.

Matt Rollinger, who made clear his views are his personal views and not reflective of the board as a whole, called the behavior “not acceptable” from any students at any time during the school day.

“I am not aware of any other time that this specific behavior has been allowed,” he said.

Other board members ducked responding to The Iowa Standard, but have responded to concerned parents.

A Linn-Mar board member called Melissa Walker told a parent she is not aware of any policy that “explicitly prohibits this behavior.”


“Since the board’s role is in enforcement of policy, this is not an issue which I feel is necessary for the school board to get involved in at this time,” Walker said.

“While I truly understand your desire for your child to be comfortable, this is not necessarily a guarantee in public schools (as is safety) as our kids will and should be exposed to things that will challenge their thinking and make them uncomfortable at times when ideas and people do not align with their personal views. It is my opinion personally that this is part of where our own personal growth around acceptance of differences can be seen most.”

Walker has used the following as Facebook profile pictures:

Board member Rachel Wall told a concerned parent that the video “appears to be of normal and healthy age-appropriate behavior between teenagers.”

“I am aware of no policy that prohibits students from sharing a kiss at the high school,” Wall said. “Beyond issues of policy, it is not the job of the board to insert itself into matters of building management.”


Wall said everyone plays a role in “setting the tone for the district.”

“Shannon and Jeff are working hard on a plan to address the tension that has been brewing at the high school, but all of us adults — board members, administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community members — must be the calming force within the storm. We do our students no favors when we become reactive.”

Wall said she appreciates the concerns about having a safe learning environment at the high school and every building in the district.

“The richest education exists in a space where we cultivate respect and value one another both for our similarities and our differences, and where every student feels safe to be his or her most authentic self.

“This may be uncomfortable at times, but it is often within the fertile grounds of our own discomfort that the most fruitful seeds of growth are planted.”

The board president, a person called Brittania Morey, said she believes everyone can agree the unrest at the high school is “concerning.”

“I observed the walk-outs on Nov. 19 and will agree with Dr. Gustason that the walk-outs were peaceful,” Morey said. “That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a sense of unease that day and that there aren’t steps to be taken to improve the environment and discourse between our students.”


Morey said the high school administrative team is working on that and the action does not fall under the purview of the board.

“I know there are still tensions within the high school and the district is working on both short and long-term solutions to bring our student body together,” Morey said. “Divisions are not easily mended and cannot be fixed overnight, but steps are being taken and as the plan comes together it will be shared.”

For his part, Gustason said he told students coming into the school from the walkout to go into the auditorium so they could “decompress” and also receive passes before heading back to class.


“I did not see anything like what you are referring to take place,” he said. “To be honest, it was a well-behaved group that spent some time sharing their experiences and then went back to class. There were also other adults in the auditorium monitoring the students.”

For what it is worth, parents in the Linn-Mar District told The Iowa Standard there is only a mask mandate for PreK-6th grade. So while younger students have to mask, socially distance, cannot hug friends or hold hands, the older students are allowed to make out.

Author: Jacob Hall


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