California schools join growing list of districts across the country banning Pride flags

As another academic year gets underway, more school boards across the country are debating banning LGBTQ Pride flags, with civil rights advocates arguing the flags are constitutionally protected expression.

This week, two California school boards voted to ban certain flags, including the LGBTQ Pride flag, amid concerns from parents who supported and opposed the bans.

JustIn recent years, school districts across the country have presented flag restrictions as a means to avoid favoring any one group over another. Some measures limit flag displays to government and military flags – effectively banning the Pride flag, LGBTQ advocates say.

“It has become clear with a little analysis that their real focus is to ban the rainbow flag,” said Jay Blotcher, co-founder of New York City’s Gilbert Baker Foundation, an LGBTQ advocacy group named for the Pride flag’s creator. “They’re willing to put a ban on other flags in their zeal to ban the rainbow flag,” Blotcher told USA TODA

For months, LGBTQ groups have warned banning gay Pride symbols in schools are an extension of curriculum bans restricting mentions of LGBTQ topics. In many states, LGBTQ curriculum bans were passed alongside bans on critical race theory, making the restrictions part of a larger push against inclusion and diversity, advocates say.

“What unites the efforts to further marginalize trans youth, ban books and ban Pride flags is a desire to make the world less safe for queer youth,” said Gillian Branstetter, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ and HIV Project. ”

The message that flags send is that anywhere it is flown you will be safe and respected and loved for who you are.”

The American Civil Liberties Union teamed up with the Gilbert Baker Foundation this year to create legal resources for communities across the country to fight back against proposals to ban the Pride flag.





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