An Indiana school district was forced to consider a ban on Pride flags in classrooms after a single parent declared they could cause “disciplinary issues”.
The Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District in Bluffton, Indiana, was contacted by the parent, who insisted that a Pride flag in their child’s eighth grade classroom would be “a trigger for student disciplinary issues”.
Shortly afterwards, in a note to local families, district superintendent Brad Yates said that the school district had been forced to seek legal counsel.
He added that the school board would be considering a policy on “controversial topics displayed in our classrooms”, and that a special meeting would be held on Tuesday, 24 August.
But the local community was having none of it.
A protest was swiftly organised ahead of the meeting, and droves of Bluffton citizens showed up to insist that there was nothing divisive about LGBT+ inclusion.
Here’s a look at the peaceful protest happening outside Bluffton High School.
— Taylor Williams (@T_Williams_News) August 24, 2021
One local parent shared on Facebook after the meeting: “After two hours of heartfelt testimony in a community I thought was close-minded and not inclusive, I was left with these thoughts.
“To the first mom who spoke about how raising a child with two moms in the school system, I was crying with you.
“To the mom who said you have to deal with me and my wife for the next 18 years, I cheered for you… To Declane, an eighth grader wanting to support your siblings coming out, you were way wiser than your age.
“To the middle school teacher who read a beautiful speech and then turned to the crowed and shouted: ‘This was written by our eighth graders and they signed their names to this!’ You gave me goosebumps.”
The mother explained that “out of maybe 50-plus speeches, only three or four were negative”, and said this gave her hope “that maybe we are ready to move forward”.
The parent also had one final message: “For the mother who started this and didn’t show; you should have, you might have learned something about tolerance and how not to be a bully.”
For now, the Pride flag will remain in the Indiana middle school classroom
According to WANE 15, at the special school board meeting, the first draft of a new “resolution regarding respect and inclusion of all students” policy was presented.
The policy states: “When beliefs and opinions differ, they will be discussed in respectful ways. BHMSD does not with to indoctrinate students on topics outside the school curricula, nor does it with to marginalise those with views on topics with which others in the community disagree.”
It also dictates that a “controversial” display will be allowed if it “encourages open-mindedness and is conducted in a spirit of scholarly inquiry”.
A policy will be voted on at the next school board meeting on 13 September, and for now, the classroom Pride flag will remain in place.
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