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LGBTQ Pride Flag in Classroom Causes Controversy in Oregon School District

An Oregon school is under fire after a parent claimed that a teacher replaced the United States flag with the LGBTQ pride flag.

Banks School District superintendent Jeff Leo issued a statement on Monday after a parent appeared on a local radio station falsely raising alarm bells that a teacher had allegedly replaced the American flag in the classroom with a pride flag, KATU reports.

According to Leo’s blog post, Banks School District policy requires an American flag in every classroom. Some teachers, Leo said, have chosen to display pride flags “as a symbol of support for LGBTQ students.”

“At Banks School District, it is our goal to create an environment where all students feel welcome, safe, and supported,” Leo said. Leo also called allegations of the flag being replaced as “not accurate.”

Some parents, for some reason, believe that displaying an LGBTQ pride flag in classes violates the district’s policies on campaigning for controversial causes.

via GIPHY

“This is NOT about discrimination of students’ rights,” a parent, who wanted to stay anonymous, told KATU, via email. “It is about the teachers hanging a biased, opinionated, sectarian belief symbol in their classrooms and handing out pins to students that say the same thing.”

Leo also denies an account from the parent that a teacher swapped the American flag for the rainbow one.

“This isn’t a political statement, it is a statement about teachers wanting to support students that they serve,” Leo told KATU. “The LGBTQ community is a recognized protected class by federal law. No, an American flag was not taken down by a teacher and replaced by a rainbow flag. There have not been pins being handed out by teachers.”

According to Tricia Yates, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Education, “the law does not prohibit other flags from being displayed in a classroom.”

“Knowing that there’s a teacher here who acknowledges that there are kids of different sexualities and genders,” LaMotte said, “it really makes me feel just homelike.”

He also said that the displayed flag is about a quarter of the size of the American flag.

Several disgruntled parents took to the school’s Facebook page, according to KATU, to vent. INTO could not find the Banks School District Facebook page to confirm.

“I thought the flag of the United States of America represents We the People and those that died to protect our freedom,” one parent wrote, according to KATU. “All US citizens be they gay, straight, any color, of any religious denomination, etc. This social justice movement separates and divides people. United we stand, divided we fall. Enough. One flag is all this country needs.”

Banks School District did not immediately respond to INTO’s request for comment.

Images by Getty


Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew is a staff writer at INTO. His work has appeared in Mic, Slate and Complex. He loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Flannery O'Connor and female rappers and is working on a memoir.

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