A school board in Oregon this week voted to ban LGBT pride and Black Lives Matter flags and other items from all district school buildings after deeming them “political.”
The Newberg Public Schools board, by a vote of four to three, made the decision Tuesday as part of an effort to rid schools of clothing and other items which are overtly divisive.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported the decision was made following a four-hour virtual meeting on Tuesday. School board vice chair Brian Shannon commented on “divisive” imagery during the meeting.
“The main goal of this is to get political symbols, and divisive symbols out of our schools so we can focus on the already difficult task of educating our students in the core subjects,” Shannon said.
OPB reported that during the meeting, school board member Ines Peña was wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt accompanied by a rainbow-colored headband.
Peña lashed out after the majority ruled against her choice of fashion.
“The quality of some of the stories that we heard should count more than just the number of emails that we received,” Peña said. “And I feel like that’s not being heard, the students are not being heard.”
Peña said she wanted more input from students.
One left-wing district teacher criticized the board’s decision to nix LGBT and BLM garb.
“[BLM and LGBT images] are messages of love and support,” teacher Stacey Dalton said. “White and or heteronormative students, the majority, see their own validation consistently in the curriculum Newberg School districts have adopted and therefore do not need extra messages of support.”
Other leftists lashed out at the school board’s decision on Twitter:
We’re deeply concerned about the Newberg School District’s decision to limit free speech in banning Black Lives Matter and Pride flags. This is harmful and further divides students and families at a time when the community is calling for the opposite. They’ll be hearing from us. https://t.co/JSlYIVt8ny
— ACLU of Oregon (@ACLU_OR) August 12, 2021
May I say, as a representative of education on many levels, that the action of the Newberg School District is reprehensible.
To the people across from the school painting a giant rainbow flag on their barn, I salute you. Where do I grab a brush? pic.twitter.com/LUMP9CZqGb
— Brett Bigham He/Him/Hey you!/ Loudmouthed advocate (@2014ORTOY) August 13, 2021
Holding my friends @ Newberg School District close to my heart in the face of this attack on the work that seeks to serve the most vulnerable in our schools 😔😔😔
— Myrna Muñoz (@myrnareli_myrna) August 11, 2021
Saying I am disappointed in the 4 members who voted to ban the BLM & Pride Flags in the Newberg School District is an understatement. Proud with the other 3 members who stood with our students https://t.co/tJeVet130E
— Ricki Ruiz (@RickiRuizOR) August 13, 2021
Prior to the vote to ban BLM and LGBT imagery from schools, the Oregon School Board Members of Color Caucus executive team sent a letter to the four board members who were expected to vote to keep divisive left-wing politics out of classrooms.
The letter was posted on Facebook.
“The actions you are considering are sending a message of division and marginalization of students and educators who are part of your community,” the letter partially stated.
“Please consider learning about what the Black Lives Matter movement calls for. What message do you send by banning symbols that call for Black lives to matter and be valued no more, and no less, than other lives?”
The city of Newberg is located southwest of Portland, Oregon, in conservative-leaning Yamhill County.
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