Many students are back at school and classroom displays of LGBTQ Pride symbols have sparked debate in many districts. In some schools, Pride flags are being labeled political and divisive. They were originally created to promote unity. One recent example is that an Oregon school board banned teachers from flying the flags on Tuesday. “We don’t pay our teachers for pushing their political views onto our students. At a recording board meeting, Brian Shannon, a Newberg school board member, stated that it was not his place to push their political views on students. Numerous other cases have been reported in which students and school officials targeted LGBTQ symbols. After being told to take down a rainbow flag in his classroom, a Missouri teacher quit last month. He also was forbidden from discussing “sexual preference” at school. A group of students at a Florida high school were accused of harassing their classmates and hooting on Pride flags. In August, Pride symbols were also targeted at a Dallas high school. Rainbow stickers were removed from classroom doors and ordered to be removed. Administrators have claimed that the LGBTQ symbols are divisive and politically correct. However, LGBTQ parents, students and teachers who were affected by the bans claim that they are causing harm for a vulnerable group. Victor Frausto (16), a gay student at MacArthur High School Irving, Texas just outside of Dallas, said that “Feeling safe shouldn’t be political.” Frausto said that the sticker was a message to me that a teacher had put up. It meant that you would not be judged for being gay or for what you identify with. However, school officials decided to ban the rainbow Pride stickers. Frausto, the president of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), stated that rainbow stickers had been removed overnight without any warning. He and the other GSA students noticed the stickers were gone. They brought the matter to the attention their GSA sponsors, who are a group of teachers who had received an email regarding the matter from the school district. The email read, “While we value the sentiment of reaching out and supporting students who may not have had such support in the past, we want to set a new tone this year,” according to a teacher. Frausto stated that educators assured the group they would press for explanations and fight to get stickers back on their classroom doors. Frausto said that two teachers were taken off campus within days. Frausto reports that a spokesperson for Irving School District refused to identify the teachers. She also said that when asked about the alleged removals, the district “doesn’t comment on employee-related issues.” Students staged a class walkout in response to the sticker removal. Students can be heard shouting “Bring back our stickers!” in a Smash Da Topic video. The district released a statement following the protest. It stated that the move was meant to “ensure that all students feel safe, regardless of their background or identities” and maintained political impartiality. Administrators in Newberg also used political neutrality to defend their policy. After being heavily criticised for not allowing Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, school board members expanded a ban on September to prevent educators from using any symbols they deem “political,” quasi-political or controversial. The Newberg State Board of Education and Shannon, one of seven Newberg School District Board members, denounced the policy. Newberg residents also petitioned for Shannon’s recall. At a livestreamed board meeting on Tuesday night, recommendedcy was stated.
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