Museum cancels Kenosha group's meeting over policy, changes course

Kenosha public museums are changing their policy on political gatherings after canceling an education group's Friday meeting before reversing course.

However, after some back and forth with museum administrators, the Kenosha Education Justice Coalition said it plans to host the event somewhere else.

The Kenosha Education Justice Coalition said it was planning the town hall to discuss how to make schools safer. One goal was to discuss a fight at Lincoln Middle School.

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Video shows an off-duty Kenosha police officer, who worked security at the school, place his knee a 12-year-old girl's neck after breaking up the fight. 

The group outlined a number of proposals for the school board.

Incident involving police officer at Kenosha's Lincoln Middle School

"We want to make sure everyone is trained in restorative justice practices," said coalition member Kendra Koeppen Mulwana. "Everyone is trained in deescalation, because every adult that is interacting with a student should have that background."

A statement from the museum's external relations manager said it's that petition the museum felt was political, because it is trying to influence school board members. Kenosha public museums have a 20-year-old policy that prohibits political gatherings, so the museum called the group Thursday and canceled the town hall.

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After talking to the city attorney though, museum officials said they learned that the policy is a free speech violation. The museum then called the group back Friday, saying they are welcome – but the group said it was too late.

"This has left a sour taste in our mouth. It shouldn’t have happened this way," said Koeppen Mulwana. "It’s difficult going into a space where you don’t necessarily feel welcome anymore."

Civil War Museum in Kenosha

The coalition is still working out logistics of when and where to host the town hall, and hopes the delay does not affect turnout.

"We just hope the community isn’t discouraged by the town hall being postponed," said Koeppen Mulwana.

The museums said they will be reviewing and modifying the current policy.


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