Education

Principal caught on video popping rainbow balloons sent in support of LGBT+ pupil

Lily Wakefield February 18, 2022
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CCTV from Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, in Athens, Georgia

The viral video reportedly shows Bipul Singh, principal of Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, in Athens, Georgia, stabbing the balloons. (YouTube/ Jeffrey Jackson)

A viral video has shown the principal of a Georgia elementary school stabbing rainbow balloons with scissors after they were sent to support a young student.

Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, in Athens, Georgia, has already faced immense backlash this year, after a school administrator took down a young child’s Pride artwork and compared it to Nazi symbolism.

The child’s artwork, proudly displayed by their teacher last month, featured rainbow colouring with the words “gay is OK”.

But parents were outraged when school administrators removed it, allegedly comparing it to a Nazi flag when questioned.

Pride artwork
The child’s Pride artwork was compared to a Nazi flag, parents said. (YouTube/ 11Alive)

Although the school district said at the time that it was “working to address the issues with all parties involved”, a CCTV clip has surfaced suggesting that not much has changed at Oglethorpe, which teaches children aged five to 11.

According to Online Athens, the clip shows the school principal, Bipul Singh, popping balloons with scissors in the school’s lobby, after they were “sent to the school in support of a student who created LGBTQ artwork in class”.

The video shows the man, reported to be Singh, receive the delivery and read the card, before stabbing all 10 balloons and throwing everything in the bin.

The child and their family are being represented by lawyer Jeff Jackson, who said that the card read: “Gay is OK.”

Jackson said that he is trying to resolve the issue without taking it to court and that no legal action had yet taken place.

In a statement this month, school district superintendent Brannon Gaskins told the local community: “We wholeheartedly condemn this reference [to Nazi symbolism] and apologise for the harm these events have caused the student, the Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary community, CCSD, and the entire Athens community, specifically members and allies of our LGBTQIA+ community.

“We provided the staff member with the opportunity to explain the situation and context and encouraged reflection on their choice of words and the subsequent impact on members of our community.”

However, he added: “We disagree with the suggestion that the staff member should be subject to a visible disciplinary action. We acknowledge this situation could have been handled with more care, thought, and attention.”

A petition to have the school’s principal and vice principal removed from their posts has now been signed more than 1,400 times.

PinkNews has approached Clark County School District for comment.

More: Georgia, Homophobia

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