Indiana middle school classroom pride flag complaint could lead to district ban

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After a parent complained about a rainbow pride flag being displayed in a grade eight class, the Bluffton-Harrison School District in northeast Indiana began to consider to ban potentially “controversial” flags.

The district school board will meet Tuesday evening to discuss adding the pride flags to a list of “controversial” items banned from display in classrooms, according to the local news station. LOW 15.

A parent complained after a pride flag was seen in a classroom at Bluffton Harrison High School. The parent contacted District Superintendent Dr Brad Yates and expressed concern that the flag could be “a trigger for disciplinary problems for students.”

The Bluffton-Harrison School District in northeast Indiana is considering banning rainbow pride flags after a parent reported seeing one in a class in 8th grade. In this photo, a teacher holds a rainbow flag in front of students sitting at their desks.
Jack F / Getty

“I spoke with this parent about their concerns and informed them that we needed to get legal advice regarding the legality of the situation,” Yates told WANE.

Yates said the district school board was “currently in the process of developing a school policy to set the parameters for controversial topics displayed in our classrooms across our district.” The flag in the colors of the rainbow can be added to the list.

It is not known what other items are on the district’s controversial items list. News week contacted the Bluffton-Harrison School District for comment, but did not receive a response until publication.

In response to the possible ban, Fort Wayne Pride, the organizers of the annual regional LGBTQ pride celebration, released a public statement on Facebook advising against the ban.

“Many of those who oppose [to Pride flags in classrooms] say it promotes sex and politics in the classroom and creates divisions, “the statement read. their own home.”

Fort Wayne Pride said rainbow flags in classrooms tell students that the school is a safe place that does not tolerate anti-LGBTQ bullying. The organization also noted that suicide rates are higher among LGBTQ youth.

“Classrooms and schools have a responsibility to protect all students from harm and bullying. If a teacher isn’t even able to hang a flag that represents this protection, what does that say to LGBTQ students in that community? The group’s statement continued.

If the district bans the display of rainbow flags, that will make it the second school district to do so this month.

In mid-August, the Newberg Public Schools Board of Oregon voted to ban all Pride and Black Lives Matter flags from classrooms. The board voted four to three to ban these items as well as all signs, clothing and other items considered largely “political.”

Newberg’s ban would only apply to teachers and school staff, not students. School district attorneys are reviewing the ban’s potential implications for free speech before it officially goes into effect.


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