Education culture war finds a new target: Pride flags in classrooms

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10/03/2021

Pride flags, which were created to promote unity, are being called political and divisive in some schools across the country. A recent example: An Oregon school board on Tuesday banned educators from displaying the flags. “We don’t pay our teachers to push their political views on our students. That’s not their place,” a school board member in Newberg, Brian Shannon, the policy’s author, said at a recorded board meeting. Several other school officials and students around the country have targeted LGBTQ symbols. A teacher resigned in Missouri last month after he was told to remove a rainbow flag from his classroom and that he couldn’t discuss “sexual preference” at school. Students at a high school near Jacksonville, Florida, were accused several weeks ago of harassing classmates in a Gay Straight Alliance club and stomping on pride flags. And in August, pride symbols were targeted at a high school near Dallas, where rainbow stickers were ordered to be scraped off classroom doors. In most cases, administrators have said the LGBTQ emblems are divisive and “political.” LGBTQ students, parents and teachers affected by the bans contend that the new rules harm a vulnerable group of young people. “Feeling safe should not be political,” said Victor Frausto, 16, a student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, just outside Dallas. “For me, when a teacher put up that sticker, it basically conveyed the message that ‘when you come in here, you will not be hated for who you love or what you identify as,’” said Frausto, who is gay.

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