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A Maryland school board has moved to adopt a new policy on political symbols that could ban items like the rainbow pride flag from public school classrooms after members said teachers had been “bullied” into displaying pride flags recently donated by an LGBTQ group.
The Carroll County School Board has voted to develop a new flag policy that may only allow the American flag, Maryland state flag, and Carroll County flags to be displayed in classrooms.
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Last week’s vote came after a collection of small Pride rainbow flags were donated to Carroll County Public Schools by the Westminster Chapter of PFLAG, a national LGBTQ group, and members of the School staff were encouraged to display them in support of the LGBTQ community.
Caitlin Edmondson, a Carroll County parent, told Fox News Digital that she found the effort “very concerning.”
“The pride flags imposed on teachers don’t just represent the gay community. They also represent gender identity and transgender ideology,” she said. “As a parent of a 6 year old at CCPS, it is very concerning that anyone thinks it is okay to push these programs on our youngest and most vulnerable.”
Superintendent Steven Lockard told Wednesday’s board meeting that the flags were available to any staff member who wanted one and they weren’t being forced on anyone. School board members, however, said some teachers felt “intimidated” into flying the flag out of political pressure and that the flag violated the district’s recently revised political neutrality policy.
“Our students are a captive audience and as such must be protected from all political agendas, right and left,” school board member Donna Sivigny said at the meeting. “I also respect the right of teachers to work in a non-hostile work environment, to deliver an effective lesson and to support all children in the best way possible, but we demand that they do so in a politically neutral way that creates a safe space for every student in our schools.However, many teachers have contacted me saying that they have been pressured or bullied to put flags in their classroom, and this is an issue that must be resolved.
“These flags have been shoved down teachers’ throats to put on their desks – that’s not inclusive,” added school board chairman Kenneth Kiler. “That’s not how it should be.”
“What this does is open a doorway for other flags to come into our schools that other people won’t like,” said school board member Tara Battaglia. “We’ve banned the Confederate flag before, and that was done a few years ago. … The premise behind the pride flag was social advocacy … which is political.”
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Sivigny proposed that a new flag policy effectively ban all political flags and only allow the American flag, Maryland state flag, and Carroll County flags to be displayed in classrooms.
Council will work to develop a new flag policy and hear public input on the subject before voting.
Local group Concerned Parents of Carroll County said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital that it supports the council’s decision to develop a flag policy and Sivigny’s proposal.
“We support the board’s decision to review the flag policy and fully support its members’ recommendations to restrict the use of flags/symbols to the flags of the United States, the State of Maryland and the counties,” a said the group. “Our school system’s coordinated effort to make every classroom a bulletin board for political and social causes was one step too far that disrupted the learning environment and divided our community. Teachers and Parents want us to refocus on providing an academic education for our students.”
The group recently announced that it is working with the Carroll County chapter of Moms for Liberty to provide an American flag to classrooms in the district.
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“We are pleased with the outcome of the meeting and believe that adopting a flag policy is an appropriate step to maintain political neutrality,” chapter president Kit Hart told Fox News Digital. “Distributing the flag was an attempt to create more division in our schools, and teachers should never have been forced to display a flag that encourages discussions about sex and gender identity. County Moms of Liberty Carroll believe that it is the role of parents to decide when to have critical discussions with our children.”
Earlier this year, the school district revised its political neutrality policy to require employees to “remain neutral about political issues, parties, and candidates during classroom instruction” and avoid discussing these issues in person. unless they are “aligned with the approved schedule,” the Baltimore Sun reported. .