Latino activists in Sioux City are gathering signatures to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s upcoming appearance at a local school. Trump is scheduled to rally supporters at Sioux City West High School Tuesday evening after school hours.
A former student at West, Francisco Valadez, launched the petition drive. He calls Trump a “bully” for his attitudes against immigrants and says he doesn’t belong in Iowa schools. But the Sioux City Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman says the district followed school board policy in agreeing to rent West High to the Trump campaign.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m disrespecting those who have decided to sign on to a petition, or anything of the sort, but we don’t make our decisions by petition, we make them by policy, and I’m bound to follow board policy, and of course the laws of the community and the state of Iowa,” Gausman said.
The board policy views school facilities as community facilities, and they have been used in the past by the John Kerry, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin campaigns. “This is part of the democratic process, and as an educational institution we have the obligation I think to our community to be a part of this,” Gausman said. In his petition, Valadez voices concern for the safety of Latinos in Sioux City, pointing to confrontations outside Trump events in Ames and Dubuque.
Gauzman says the event will go ahead as scheduled Tuesday evening.
Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio