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Lead-Deadwood School Board Bans Signs Promoting “Social Agenda”—Goodbye, America Posters

The Lead-Deadwood School District gave final approval Monday to its new policy restricting the display of any “controversial” signs or decorations conveying “political or religious messages” or any “social agenda.”

Strangely, as one of my Twitter acquaintances notes, the Lead-Deadwood schools continue to display the “In God We Trust” decoration mandated by the state to promote Governor Kristi Noem’s social agenda of spreading her version of Christianity:

Lenessa Keehn, tweet showing display of controversial banner promoting controversial Christian social agenda in Lead-Deadwood school building, 2022.06.21.
Lenessa Keehn, tweet showing display of controversial banner promoting controversial Christian social agenda in Lead-Deadwood school building, 2022.06.21.

And as Lead-Deadwood’s social studies teachers may point out (at least until they are stifled by the new social studies curriculum Governor Noem is importing from Trumpofascist Hillsdale College), America itself is a social agenda, promoting for nearly 250 years the radical and evolving propositions that all people are created equal and that government of the people should be run by the people for the people. We are a nation founded in controversy, blood, and commitment to the overthrow of tyrants. Our national agenda remains controversial here and abroad, where we see tyrants willing to wage all sorts of warfare—with lies and riots as well as good old bullets and bombs—to stifle our agenda.

The Lead-Deadwood School District cannot restrict the display of items conveying a social agenda without failing to teach the true meaning of the American flag that it exempts from its ill-conceived, anti-educational, and fundamentally anti-American policy.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-06-22 07:29

    Another opportunity is the Grateful Deadwood High Cannabusiness Institute. The building that has been home to the Deadwood High School Bears now Lead-Deadwood Elementary came to mind at my conclusion to make Deadwood an adult destination. This building is perfect for Deadwood’s cannabis experiment. Under a compact with tribal nations and Black Hills State University with oversight from the South Dakota Gaming Commission create a campus with degrees in cannabusiness and tourism. Train casino workers and poker dealers.

  2. Donald Pay 2022-06-22 11:02

    Yeah, it seems the district has gone a little overboard on being politically correct. The very act of posting that policy in a classroom would violate the policy! It seems the issue of defining what is a divisive concept is the problem. This is America! Everything is a “divisive concept” or controversial to someone! Myself, I think exclamation points and pictures of kittens are divisive! I’m a dog person, goddamnit! I’m sorry, if you want to address this issue in reality, you might end up with bare walls!

    Still, I wonder if there is a commonsense way to address this problem, though I don’t think there is a problem. Any ideas?

  3. mike from iowa 2022-06-22 12:18

    Ban and burn the bible and all of its bastard offspring versions!

  4. Donald Pay 2022-06-22 13:56

    Cory points out that “America itself is a social agenda.” You probably can’t get much more of a social agenda than the Declaration of Independence. Let’s say you put up a poster with this phrase from the Preamble: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And underneath that was a fact: “Author of this statement was a slaveowner.” Now, which part of that is a “social statement?”

  5. larry kurtz 2022-06-22 13:58

    1) middle schools should be eliminated.
    2) high schools should insist on business casual except on Fridays.
    3) girls and boys, women and men in public schools should be instructed in separate classrooms
    4) school boards should have an elected representative from the high school student population
    5) teachers must be union members
    6) districts should have the flexibility to experiment with curricula, including year-round sessions
    7) American Indian languages should meet the world language requirement

  6. CK 2022-06-22 14:36

    Larry: tribal schools in SD recognize D/L/Nakota as world languages and fulfill that requirement.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-22 14:52

    I am tickled by the paradox Donald points out: the school board’s own controversial policy prohibits its own posting. If I were teaching in Lead-Deadwood, I’d have trouble resisting the urge to make a poster explaining that I can’t have a controversial poster because school board policy prohibits me from putting up a controversial poster.

    But then I probably wouldn’t be teaching in Lead-Deadwood for long, would I?

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-22 17:17

    In a town where the number one industry is gambling and booze, where historical prostitution is celebrated, where cold blooded gun violence has become a pageant, and where Meth infested motorcycle gangs are welcomed, the School Board is taking a stand against social agendas??? Like Decency, Inclusion, and Fair Dealing, will corrupt the town. The world turned upside down.

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-06-22 17:57

    Hey the guy from Wessington Springs could groom really well in Lead Deadwood.

  10. All Mammal 2022-06-23 01:34

    Solution: open-air classrooms. It worked out for the ancients as the pedagogy of the founders of thought. Open-air schools also were the in-thing in Europe during the tuberculosis spate of yestercentury.

    No walls= no posters with ‘controversial rhetoric/dialogue/agenda/blah,blah,bla…’ (forced armpit-air sound)

  11. John Dale 2022-06-27 08:36

    Monumentally dumb since a just standard cannot be defined.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-06-27 09:03

    “Republican complicity in school shootings is part of a larger political design to discredit the public sphere and get Americans to divest from the institutions of democracy, starting with schools.” — Ruth Ben-Ghiat

    Blurring one line between church and state America’s founders extolled the virtue of education as local schools were run both by christian sects and by local municipalities under the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

    But it was not until 1867 and Reconstruction made public education a federal prerogative when President Andrew Johnson created a Department of Education as a proxy for race politics. Missionaries were hired then dispatched to the Deep South to provide schooling for whites and Negroes alike and Roman Catholics were enabled in the American West to assimilate Indigenous youth. Congress was incensed then demoted the Education Department after a year making it part of the Interior Department yet abuses continued.

    The Trump Organization was simply the latest obstacle to public education because it hates people of color and social equity, too. Add it all up: Rupert Murdoch, a a not-so-closeted racist himself, the Kochs, JBS, the Council for National Policy, the National Rifle Association, Fox News, Tucker Carlson, their attacks on public education and the “Great Replacement.”

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