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Fowlerville schools flag ban prompts backlash, social media bullying

Fowlerville schools flag ban prompts backlash, social media bullying
Fowlerville schools flag ban prompts backlash, social media bullying 02:27

(CBS DETROIT) - Fowlerville Public Schools followed a growing trend this week when the school board implemented a ban on certain flags, student posters, and stickers. 

The issue tipped off a mixed reaction. One parent tells CBS News Detroit about some recent bullying on social media. 

"We don't know where it came from other than somebody has an agenda. We don't know what else to think because we've really tried with our school board," said Tonya DeFever, a parent within the school district. 

DeFever says that as far as she knows, the decision earlier this week wasn't incited by a complaint or a problem. 

"We cannot get an answer," she said. 

The policy is called 8805, and it was the subject of a nearly four-hour public comment session on Tuesday before the board implemented the policy. Under the policy, the American flag, Michigan flag and military flag are still allowed, but any media-like other flags, posters and stickers are not unless they are part of the approved curriculum. 

"In 48 hours since this has happened, we have a lot of very upset students and sad students, but we also have already had a bullying issue through TikTok," DeFever said. 

The posts sent to CBS News Detroit by another Fowlerville community member show students celebrating the new policy using graphic language and homophobic slurs. 

"Our students saw that, and already in 48 hours, permission for our students to bully each other even further. So that's really sad," DeFever said. 

CBS News Detroit reached out to the school boards and superintendents at Fowlerville Public Schools and Hartland Consolidated Schools. Hartland implemented a similar but slightly less restrictive ban back in June. 

Hartland schools didn't respond to the interview request, and the president of the Fowlerville School Board declined an interview but said, in part: 

"The Policy strives to ensure these displays are content-neutral, align with the district's educational objectives, and support the approved curriculum and other school activities...Over the next several weeks and months, district administration will collaborate with teachers and staff to implement the policy through administrative regulations."

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