Parents demand removal of school’s rainbow flag, unless it flies Confederate flag too
Parents at a school in Alabama are demanding the removal of a rainbow flag put up in a classroom to celebrate LGBT tolerance.
The flag, at Auburn High School in Alabama, was made by members of a school club last week and put on display in a teacher’s classroom.
But angry parents have demanded that the symbol be torn down.
Hundreds have signed an online petition which compares the flag to a Confederate flag, widely seen as a racist symbol in support of slavery.
The petition says: “Flying of the Pride Flag can create a hostile and uncomfortable learning environment for students who come from families that do not support the LGBTQ+ community.”
It adds: “Subjecting or explicitly exposing students from diverse political backgrounds to political views differing from theirs can make students uncomfortable and distract them from learning the material assigned to them, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
“We feel that an expression of these views only drives a wedge between students with differing view points and can alienate students with unpopular political and/or religious views from the popular majority in the class, further deteriorating the classroom and learning environment. ”
It adds: “[We] would like for you to consider the uproar and chaos that would ensue were a teacher to hang for example a Confederate, Christian, or Heterosexual Flag in their classroom.
“There would likely be protests, emails from teachers, and threatening of lawsuits from parents with differing viewpoints.”
“[We] ask that the Pride Flag be removed from Auburn High School in order to preserve a welcoming, beneficial, and unbiased learning environment for students from all political backgrounds attending Auburn High School.”
Meanwhile, a rival petition has gone up in support of the rainbow flag.
The petition, started by a student at the school, says: “The pride flag and the AHS Educate club has served to provide a healthy environment for our LGBT+ peers to feel comfortable being who they truly are.
“The flag represents this safe space, and frankly, the sentiment for removing the pride flag is an affront to the work that has been done nationally to fight for recognition of the community.”
“[We] not only refute the points of the original complaint, but stand by [the teacher]’s decision and right to display the pride flag, especially as the sponsor of the AHS Educate club.
In a statement, Auburn City Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen DeLano said: “It has been brought to the attention of Auburn City Schools and Auburn High School that a petition from a group of anonymous students and parents was sent to Dr. Shannon Pignato, the principal of Auburn High School.
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“As of noon, she had not been presented with that petition. She is aware of the situation though and is working with staff and students to address those concerns.
“Auburn High School is certainly a reflection of the Auburn community, hence societal issues are brought to our campuses.
“It is our mission to ensure each student embraces and achieves his or her unique intellectual gifts and personal aspirations while advancing the community through a school system distinguished by compassion for others, symbiotic relationships with an engaged community, the creation and sharing of knowledge, inspired learners with global perspectives and the courage to determine our future.
“In our country today, people are often seen addressing their objections through violence and hate. It is my sincere desire to assist our students in learning to address their opinions and their values in a calm and respectful manner.
“This differing of opinions related to the E.D.U.C.A.T.E Club at Auburn High School affords our faculty and students an opportunity to learn and model a civil manner in which to resolve our differences.”