Cedarburg School District uncovers LGBTQ+ mural after feedback from parents, students

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CEDARBURG, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Children belonging to a club that preaches acceptance are learning about censorship the hard way.

They're part of the Student Acceptance Team at Webster Middle School.

The club spent all spring designing and then painting a mural on a hallway wall. Days after it was completed, the mural was unexpectedly covered up.

Three friends hoped to leave a legacy at Webster School, where they just graduated 8th grade.

"I was very proud of it," said student Elise Lenhart. "Everyone did such a great job. I loved how it turned out."

The colorful mural was painted between the library and the media room, with help from their faculty advisory.

"We had a survey at the beginning of the year asking for information about LGBTQ+, which means that there are so many students, they're probably our largest minority group at Webster," said Katherine Myszewski, former Webster Middle School band director and Student Acceptance Team faculty advisor.

The original design of "Love is Universal" included the transgender and lesbian flags. The principal first signed off on it, then later on, changed his mind.

"And he wanted to cover them up because he thought that the mural was too LGBTQ+," said Myszewski.

Students left the Pride flag up, but erased others related to LGBTQ+. The principal told the faculty advisor that students as young as six attend summer academy there and that's why the mural needs to be covered.

"I was pretty angry when I first found out because we like worked on that for months," said student Ryan Ritchie.

"The district that would think it's okay to just is flabbergasting, quite honestly," said Dr. Ruth Barratt, parent.

Dr. Barratt's child, Finn, courageously came out as transgender last year. Parents say covering the mural, whether that's permanent or temporary, is extremely offensive.

"This was about inclusion. There was nothing rude or awful about the work that they did. It talks about love and accepting other people," said Dr. Barratt.

"No matter who you are, whether you're out or in the closet, that you are loved and you are supported," said Myszewski.

The Cedarburg School District sent the following letter to parents Thursday afternoon, noting that they have now uncovered the mural:

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