In recent years, Morgantown, West Virginia has been trending in the right direction on LGBTQ rights.
After being taken out for a couple years by the pandemic, the town’s Pride celebrations returned late this summer. They even hosted their first ever Pride parade, with hundreds of community members turning out to celebrate and show support.
In spite of this–or perhaps in retaliation–the local school board proposed a decision to remove any and all Pride flags from Monongalia County schools earlier this month.
The school district’s policy states:
Non-school related activities, including political activities, do not contribute to a positive learning climate and may be disruptive, divisive and distracting. Therefore, such activities are not appropriate within the school setting. It is the intention of the board of education to regulate such activities on all board owned or used property, within all school buildings and all school sponsored activities.
Flags were reportedly already removed at Morgantown High by the second day of classes.
The move immediately garnered complaints from parents, students, and community members alike.
Local queer rights group Morgantown Pride is making it clear that the community won’t be taking this decision without a fight.
The org has put out an official call to protest:
View this post on Instagram
The group is set to stage a protest in front of the Board of Education building on Tuesday, September 27th, before speaking out en masse in the following board meeting.
“Come out to support the LGBTQ+ students and faculty of Mon County Schools and demand the BOE reverse their Pride flag ban,” the post reads.
With hundreds of likes on the call to action post and folks reaching out to other local organizations, it’s clear that citizens are ready to mobilize against this decision.
ACLU of West Virginia staff attorney Nicholas Ward writes in an email that “we’ve received a number of complaints from students and parents about the school’s application of a troublingly vague policy to pride flags, and we are closely examining the situation.
“Promoting inclusiveness is not a political issue, and any interpretation of the policy that suggests otherwise raises serious concerns about violations of constitutional rights to free speech and expression.”