Oregon School Board votes to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride signs from district buildings
An Oregon school district on Tuesday voted to ban Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ and other “political” signs, flags and clothing from their campuses.
After hearing from a fraction of community members who have opinions on the matter, the Newberg Public School Board voted 4-3 to prevent any kind of political signage from schools.
The board will later decide what counts as “policy,” but the pride flags and BLM messages were referenced several times during the meeting.
Superintendent Joe Morelock said he will need to meet with district attorneys before enforcing the ban.
“I won’t be able to apply it as is until we have gone through a bunch of legal reviews,” he said.
School board principal and vice-president Brian Shannon, who voted for the measure and added wording on clothing, said “the main goal is to remove political symbols and divisive symbols from our schools. so that we can focus on the already difficult task of educating our students in the core subjects. “
The clothing rule would only apply to staff while they are working.
Brandy Penner, a board member, countered that the top five performing schools in the state had diversity coordinators and diversity statements, while districts that were struggling educationally have “a lacks something to do with fairness “.
“It sounds so draconian… it seems so contrary to everything,” Penner said. “Anti-freedom of speech, anti-freedom of expression, anti-security.”
Board member Ines Peña also pointed out that the students did not have enough say in the decision, even though they and their parents shared stories describing discrimination and feelings of insecurity.
“The quality of some of the stories we’ve heard should count more than the number of emails we’ve received,” said Peña, who wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and rainbow headband at the show. virtual meeting. “And I have the impression that this is not heard. The students are not heard.
The council was also to work on an “alternative language” for the district’s anti-racism policy and consider revisiting the Oregon Department of Education’s “Every Student Belongs” policy, which, in part, “prohibits hate symbols. , especially three of the most recognizable symbols of hate in the United States: the swastika, the Confederate flag and the noose. “
Both agenda items were postponed to a meeting later in August. The board is also expected to discuss the questioning of the state’s mask mandate at its next meeting.