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Tensions rise as Johnston parents appeal for removal of Turning Point USA

This past spring, the district voted to approve the founding of a Turning Point USA chapter.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — The Johnston Community School District is facing push back for their decision allowing a chapter of the national organization Turning Point USA to become an official school group.

Johnston parents filed an appeal with the Iowa Department of Education trying to get the group removed from campus. 

"There's a lot of tension between people in our high school," Waverly Zhao, a student representative on the Johnston school board, said. 

Zhao said she sees her school being divided by groups the kids are in that represent different causes. 

"Even walking in the hallways, you can kind of see when people are like, 'oh, there's that core person' or 'oh, there's that person who's into another school group that opposes our ideas,'" Zhao said. 

Local 5 reached out to one of the parents who filed the appeal to the Iowa Board of Education. However, she said she wants the process to play out before talking on camera. 

RELATED: Controversy builds as Johnston High School student looks to form chapter of conservative club

At the most recent Johnston School Board meeting, the student organizer for Turning Point USA spoke about the backlash he and the group have experienced since its April start date. 

"Coming here to address you all tonight has put a target on my back," the student said. "But I will stand up for my peers in free speech no matter what it takes. I hope to inspire others to stand up for what they believe in despite grownups at least twice my age trying to silence me." 

Local 5 reached out to both Turning Point USA and the Iowa Department of Education and did not hear back. 

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