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Carroll County Students Protest School Board Policy That Would Prohibit Pride Flags

WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) -- Students protested Wednesday night outside of a Carroll County School Board meeting in which board members will review a policy that would prohibit gay pride flags and other flags from county schools.

The school board voted in its April meeting to develop a new policy on the use of political symbols, specifically flags, in school buildings. The Washington Post reported the decision came after parents raised concerns about the rainbow pride flags displayed inside some county classrooms.

In the April meeting, some board members said they have already banned Confederate Flags, and the rainbow flag also goes against their policy.

A draft of the policy discussed in Wednesday night's board meeting would prohibit all flags on school property but:

  • The Maryland flag
  • The Carroll County flag
  • Temporary flags used for study within the approved curriculum
  • Flags that denote a recognition or achievement and are approved by the Superintendent
  • MPSSAA or similar school sport tournament banners
  • Banners from colleges, universities or professional sports teams
  • Flags of other countries in a multi-national display (not to be larger or more prominent than the United States flag)

Additionally, under the policy, a United States flag would be displayed in "every classroom, conference room, school office, gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium, stadium, and other rooms frequented by students, staff and guests" on school grounds.

No other flags may be "flown, posted, or affixed" to the grounds, walls, doors, ceilings or any other Board of Education property under the draft policy.

The heated debate comes after Joy Fisher, a Carroll County parent, donated pride flags to Carroll County schools after students in the LGBTQ+ community wanted representation in the classroom. She got the flags from advocacy organization Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, known as PFLAG.

"We wanted the kids to feel safe," Fisher said.

Students outside the meeting told WJZ they deal with harassment on a daily basis, and want their schools to feel more inclusive.

"This is extremely hurtful not just to LGBTQ students but also minority students who are put in the position where their representation is being shown as political," said Sumiya Rahaman, a junior at Westminster High School.

"The LGBTQ community was created not as a political movement but as a place for people to feel safe and accepted," said Jacob Letnaunchyn, a senior at Manchester Valley High School.

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