A Utah school district bans pride flags under the guise of a state-imposed policy that requires districts to keep classrooms “politically neutral.”
Despite the fact that the Utah Department of Education does not specifically consider pride flags or rainbow symbols to be political, and the fact that no known incidents involving a pride flag or a rainbow symbol cannot be reported, Davis School District says it is “mandatory” to ban pride flags with Black Lives Matter, “Make America Great Again” and other flags, stickers or symbols of a “political” nature.
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“No flag flies in our schools except the flag of the United States of America,” district spokesman Chris Williams tried to say. Salt Lake City Tribune. The Tribune then noted that Williams “later clarified that some schools have flags of sports teams or international countries” that the district considers “unrelated to politics” – but pride flags are not considered among them.
The district slipped the pride flag into its updated ban on political symbols because it had become “politically charged,” Williams said.
Instead of making the issue “neutral,” the Davis School District decision upset some of the same Conservative school board activists who backed the push. Many initially supported the district’s decision against “identity politics,” such as state board member Natalie Cline.
But they didn’t expect the pro-Trump motto “Make America Great Again” to be included in the ban.
Earlier this month, Cline was censored for promising to “make a few phone calls” in a social media post after seeing a photo of a sign at a seminar welcoming LGBTQ people near high school Layton, who the state school board said had “incited hate speech.” Now Cline labels her social media posts as “[Not official USBE Board position]. “She shared a similar article with the news of Davis’ ban.
Likewise, LGBTQ advocates have disowned Davis for politicizing and removing the pride flag. Amanda Darrow, director of youth, family and education at the Utah Pride Center, told the Tribune that this decision only harms students inside and outside the classroom.
“These people who want to withdraw the flag, they don’t understand what it means for us. This flag represents love and acceptance, ”she said.
Williams and the district justify the decision as enforcing a rule that has been in place for years under state guidelines, even though the Utah Board of Education said in a statement, “It There is nothing in the code that specifically defines a rainbow flag as a political declaration, so it would be up to district or charter school policies to make that decision.
In contrast, Salt Lake City schools do not ban pride flags as part of such a policy. This includes Rose Park Elementary School, which has included pride flags in its flag repertoire for years since the principal met a trans student there. The school’s atrium had at least one flag representing the identity of the students attending the school, for a total of around 41 flags.
Salt Lake City’s last two superintendents have ruled that a pride flag is not political and have refused requests to remove it on Tribune reports.
When KUTVMark Woodruff insisted to Williams on teachers who previously had pride flags in their class, asking if they would be asked to remove them or if there had been any issues directly with them, Williams avoided a direct response on behalf of the district. He claimed that “it doesn’t necessarily matter if the flag has already flown”.
He concluded: “We need to have a politically neutral classroom, and we will educate the students in the best possible way.
The Utah ACLU, among others, also condemns the Davis School District.
“Whether or not a school district has the legal capacity to ban inclusive and supportive symbols in classrooms, it is bad policy for them to do so,” the advocacy organization said in a statement. . “Utah schools have an obligation to ensure that all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feel welcome in a classroom. We urge school administrators and teachers to adopt policies that make all students feel safe and included. “
The leading cause of death for young people in Utah has been suicide for years and, in 2020, was the second leading cause of death among all Utahns. As Davis’s homepage notes, September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
In April, high school students at Ridgeline High School in Utah were filmed cutting an LGBTQ pride flag as their classmates laughed and cheered.
The Davis County School District has banned the BLM and pride flags and other symbols saying they are politically charged.
This is why the number 1 killer of children in Utah is suicide, especially among LGBTQ youth. Almost 52% say they have frequent thoughts of suicide.
– Kaz Weida (@kazweida) September 21, 2021
I’m mad at this. Last week I got a response from the Davis School District policy attorney who lied! They wanted the pride flag and all the rainbows removed and just added the MAGNA and BLM flags to make it look less like an attack. #Mormon #utpol #LGBTQIA https://t.co/uWRodRqAxz
– Candidate for the 2020 and 2018 legislature (@CherylNunn) September 22, 2021
A Utah school district has long banned pride flags in classrooms, saying they are too political. Reality: Pride flags are only “political” in the sense that there are far too many people still trying to deny the basic rights of LGBTQ people. That’s it.
– Blair Hodges🎙🔥 (@LifeOnaPlate) September 24, 2021
The Davis School District should have said, “We value the safety and feelings of our white heterosexual students over all other students.” It would have been a shorter article. https://t.co/O5N7ePQOXm
– Pokey-Mon (@MsUniKitty) September 21, 2021
This shit makes me so angry. I’m so sick of being embarrassed by my roots.
– Kendall Tingey (@kendalltingey) September 22, 2021