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Central Bucks school board votes to pass controversial policy

Central Bucks school board votes passes controversial policy
Central Bucks school board votes passes controversial policy 01:46

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- The Central Bucks school board voted in favor of a rule that limits what teachers can display in the classroom on Tuesday night. 

The controversial policy has been a hot topic in this district. CBS Philadelphia heard both sides Tuesday – some for it and some against it. 

It was a packed house inside the Central Bucks School District Board meeting in Doylestown. 

After a two-and-a-half-hour meeting, the board voted to pass Policy 321, 6-3. 

Policy 321 is a 2018 policy restricting Central Bucks County School District employees from participating in political activities while on the clock. Now, the district wants to also include classroom displays, but opponents are calling it dangerously vague and a form of censorship.

"I'm concerned as a parent," Heather Reynolds said. "I'm concerned as a community member. The decisions that the district is making have a real-world impact on our students and our community."

Reynolds is referring to the new restrictions under the district's Policy 321. It would prohibit teachers from displaying flags or posters advocating any political or sociopolitical activities and issues in the classroom.

Although the policy doesn't explicitly mention LGBTQ advocacy, the district previously banned pride flags.

LGBTQ students say this is another dig at them and the pride flag. Those also against it say it's a form of censorship. 

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education claiming the district is fostering a hostile environment for its LGBTQ students.

"The pride flag is a symbol of identity and inclusion and it tells students, 'Hey, this is a safe place for me,'" ACLU Rich Ting said. "It shouldn't be a political issue, I think the school board is turning it into a political issue."

On the other side — those for policy 321 – feel it will create a balanced and neutral environment in the classrooms.

CBS Philadelphia spoke with some attendees following the vote. 

"I'm not surprised, but very disheartened, very upset," a woman said. "It's the direction the board has been going and we expected it, but we're going to keep fighting."

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