Owatonna Superintendent Jeff Elstad says the school district has been alerted to a possible protest near Owatonna High School Monday, February 5 by a group from Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas at 8:30AM. The announcement was released in the district's regular email newsletter.

Elstad states, "While we cannot control what happens outside of school grounds, we can control what happens within our schools. Our focus that day, as on all days, will be to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for all Owatonna public school students. Our OHS counseling staff are available to speak with any students who have concerns about coming to school that morning." Elstad also indicates the group plans to protest at Owatonna churches Sunday, February 4.

He added, "We are a strong community that will not compromise our integrity and belief in supporting all of our students and families regardless of their backgrounds."

Elstad also reports that the school board endorsed two destiny drivers proposed by the group Owatonna Forward. "These two goals came from community input gathered by Owatonna Forward through a survey and series of public meetings last winter/spring. More information will be shared in the next few months as we re-energize our district strategic plan to focus our work moving forward. The goals endorsed at the January 25 meeting are:

  1. Lead preschool through 12th-grade opportunities and be in the top 10% of Minnesota schools by 2027.
  2. Create a 21st-century high school facility that prepares students to be college or career ready by graduation.