Lewiston superintendent to consider students’ poster

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LEWISTON — School Superintendent Bill Webster said Wednesday he’ll decide whether a #Blacklivesmatter poster can be displayed in Lewiston High School after he looks at it.

Four LHS students told the Portland Press Herald that they hung the poster in the school. The poster reportedly included quotes they read in the national news about black people who were shot, some by police.

Student Chandler Clothier told the Portland paper that LHS Principal Linda MacKenzie ordered them to take the poster down on Monday but, on Wednesday, MacKenzie told the Sun Journal she did not have the poster.

Webster said Lewiston School Committee policy requires that he approve posters before they’re displayed in schools.

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“I don’t know of any reason why it shouldn’t be approved, but I have yet to see it,” Webster said Wednesday.

He deals with three or four posters a week, he said.

“They tend to be fundraising requests and the like,” he said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve dealt with a poster of a political issue. I look forward to meeting with the students. We’ll view the poster.”

Part of providing students with an education is preparing them to participate in democracy and the right of free speech, he said.

“I fully expect we’ll come up with how they can express their views,” Webster said.

Webster said he expects to meet with students and look at the poster on Thursday.

One of the students involved is senior class President Muna Mohamed. At school Wednesday, she declined to be interviewed after being counseled by civil rights teacher Paula Gerencer.

Gerencer said Mohamed did not want to speak to the media without the other three students who put the poster together present.

American Civil Liberties Union of Maine spokeswoman Rachel Healy said her organization is not involved in the matter, “but we are paying attention to it.”

According to Gerencer, the students who made the poster planned to attend a civil rights meeting in Portland on Wednesday afternoon.

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