Woman accuses La Crosse School Board of illegal religious indoctrination over Ho-Chunk moment of silence

Several high school students also appeal to the school board to bolster mental health services in tense times

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A woman scolded the La Crosse School Board Monday for its moment of silence to honor Ho-Chunk Nation and sacred indigenous lands, saying it was illegal religious indoctrination.

Shannon McKinney, speaking during the public comment period at the beginning of the board’s regular meeting, said that such invocations amount to “unlawfully compelling school board members and people present to partake in a religious ceremony.”

Using the term “sacred” means veneration of God, she said, adding that that is discriminatory and can cause harm.

McKinney asked the board to discontinue the exhortation and moment of silence and to review the practice.

Noting that it’s appropriate for an individual to invoke prayers during the public comment period but not so for the full board, she voiced a prayer to “Jesus and Father God” to guide the board in its deliberation.

Also during the public comment period, several Central and Logan high school students appealed to the board to bolster mental health services for students and teachers.

Improving the mental health services is especially necessary in light of the pressures resulting from COVID-19, several school shootings in the nation and racist incidents at schools, they said.

A Logan student alleged that a substitute teacher referred to a black student’s hair with the negative term “nappy.”

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