‘Too political’ pride flags are now being banned by schools in multiple states

People carry the rainbow flag as they participate in the Miami Beach Pride Parade along Ocean Drive on 19 September 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida (Getty Images)
People carry the rainbow flag as they participate in the Miami Beach Pride Parade along Ocean Drive on 19 September 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida (Getty Images)

A growing number of schools are now banning the display of LGBTQ+ flags in their premises in multiple US states by calling them political and divisive.

The bans have sparked concerns with many students and teachers resigning, protesting or being suspended for voicing their opinion on the schools’ action.

The latest to join the campaign, an Oregon school board on Tuesday voted to ban schools from displaying pride and Black Lives Matter (BLM) flags or symbols in classrooms.

“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, said. “Their place is to teach the approved curriculum, and that’s all this policy does, is ensure that’s happening in our schools.”

A Utah school district has also banned LGBTQ pride and BLM flags from being displayed, arguing that it was an effort to keep school “neutral” on all issues.

Davis School District spokesperson in northern Utah said that the symbols have become too politically charged, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

“So no flags fly in our schools except for the flag of the United States of America,” spokesman Chris Williams said. But he clarified that some of the schools have flags of sports teams or international countries which are unrelated to politics.

Similarly, in Indiana, Bluffton-Harrison School district held a discussion with the board to consider banning the "controversial" flags, reported Newsweek.

It was after a parent had complained to a pride flag being displayed inside the classroom of the school, saying it might be "a trigger for student disciplinary issues."

In September, a Missouri teacher, John M Wallis, resigned after his school’s administration asked him to remove a rainbow Pride flag from his classroom and restricted him from discussing sexuality or “sexual preference” at school.

LGBTQ advocates had denounced the bans, arguing that removing pride flags from schools suggests that classrooms are no longer safe places for queer students. They say it is about feeling belonged and respected in the community and not displaying any political views.

“These people who want to remove the flag, they don’t understand what it means to us,” said Amanda Darrow, the director of youth, family and education at the Utah Pride Centre. “That flag represents love and acceptance.”

Mary Emily O’Hara of GLAAD, a non-government group for LGBTQ rights, told Yahoo Life that the bans "are harmful messages that youth and adults alike recognise as hurtful discrimination, when the message should be that we include, protect and value the most vulnerable among us."

"Displaying an LGBTQ pride flag is an inclusive and harmless way to show LGBTQ people they are welcome and safe," she said.

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