Protest met with positivity


Counter-protesters gathered on their own on Grove St.

Greeted with a smile and positive notes, the Owatonna High School students were met with a message of love rather than hate as they entered the school on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Although the messages of protesters was being spread outside of the school, the inside of the school was being run as usual.

Serena Omangi
A member of the Westboro Baptist Church on the corner of Grove St. and School St.

Protesters slowed down traffic and  brought a stir to the school around 7:30 a.m., the protesters were relinquished by the cold around 8:00 a.m. Although the protesters appeared earlier than the planned time, the school had plans set in place for the day to run smoothly. When asked about the protesters appearance coming earlier than expected, Principal Mr. Mark Randall said, “It did not affect our planning because we had two different plans in place. All we did was make our adjustments to the plan and all went well. It was really a non-event for us, but at the same time we plan for all different sorts of scenarios to make sure that if anything were to go different than what we planned, we would have been ready for that.” The school was prepared, and the pre-planning made everything go as expected.

Serena Omangi
OHS Student Council Poster

OHS had a fairly normal day on Monday. When asked about the whole student body’s reaction, Mr. Randall said, “I believe that there was anxiety from students leading into the protests because they didn’t know what to expect. I actually heard some students say, ‘Oh, it’s not that big of a deal, there only a couple of people out there,’ and that was my impression of what some of the students were thinking.” Students have responded with overwhelming relief. When asked if the protesters impacted the school day, freshman Kaylei Karow said, “They did not impact the school day besides everyone talking about them. Everyone just built it up, but it was really nothing.” This seemed to be the reaction of most of the students. Junior Kenna DaMitz said, “It made me feel better about what was going outside. It was all just a happy welcoming environment.”

Along with the usual flow of students herding to their classes, the Student Council passed out hot cocoa, skittles and starbursts to try and start off the day right. When asked why student council did this, senior student council member Erica Svenby said, “We were just trying to make sure that all the students felt welcomed. Through the kindness posters, hot cocoa and candy at the doors, I think we did a good job of spreading kindness.”

It made me feel better about what was going outside. It was all just a happy welcoming environment.”

— Kenna DaMitz

Serena Omangi
OHS Student Council placed cheerful posters throughout the school

The Owatonna Senior High School is a place where all students welcome, and it will continue to be a welcoming environment for all students. When asked about the student bodies response to this event, Mr. Randall said, “I think [the student body] handled it great. It shows a lot about our student body, and it shows that they care about one another more than they care about the thoughts or opinions of others.”

With distractions being present, the OHS student body, as well as staff have been successful in staying on task and creating a positive atmosphere for all students. This is something to keep in mind as distractions happen, and they should be treated responsibly.