by Alexa Sanchez-Nava, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Interest groups have approached the School Board to discuss the appropriateness of political messaging in school classrooms. Among these symbols, some have described as “political” Pride and Black Lives Matter banners.
Policy 1510 of the Advertising/Promotions category in the KUSD rules and regulations encompasses the advertisement of commercial products within its schools and school-sponsored events. More specifically, it is focused on the implications of any ad or activity that goes against the message of making learning accessible to all, a spirit of inclusion, and any other core values of the district.
1510 elaborates on this in four points. No advertising will be permitted on school buildings or any District-owned property if it advertises or promotes products or services or uses imagery, verbiage or other methods of communication (a) that pertains to products or services that are unlawful or prohibited in school, such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco or other harmful substances; (b) that are inappropriate for the intended age group such as those related to the promotion of sexual activity; (c ) that is political in nature; (d) or that is inconsistent with the District mission or educational objectives.
Parents of students in the district have taken to social media to grab the attention of the school board, expressing their belief that signs of LGBTQIA+ and inclusion as well as other similar symbols in the classroom are making many people uncomfortable. They have called the Board to review this policy and move to reconsider the allowance of these “political” symbols in classrooms.
A recent spike in parent and community distaste for inclusive signage has forced some students to reflect on how these attitudes are affecting their learning and the way they interpret these symbols.
Indian Trail senior Emily Dao states, “To some of the board members, these symbols are not inclusive. One describes them to be, ‘political/sexual signage'”. Dao describes this characterization as a bit narrow. “How unprofessional it looks for a board member to openly share a passively biased comment, hiding behind the ideals of ‘many’ who have found these symbols to be uncomfortable.”
Dao expresses disappointment in the inability of the district to provide a safe environment for its minority students. “Real-time reports of signage such as Blue Lives Matter flags, Confederate flags, etc. making students feel unsafe have not stirred the higher-ups as much as this has.”
For many LGBTQIA+ and/or minority students, the “Safe Space” stickers and simple adornment encouraging inclusivity is a nod to their identities and cultures. While controversial or unnecessary to a group of parents or students, these symbols have a great impact on students of all grade levels that may not feel welcome or otherwise safe.
“If you really want to know what is negatively impacting our education, it’s this,” says Dao. “It’s a week before finals, and instead of studying, I am arguing to keep up inclusive LGBTQIA+ flags and Black Lives Matter flags which provide comfort for the marginalized and oppressed groups in our school. All in all, this issue shouldn’t exist. These flags are not hurting anyone.”
The Board has scheduled two special meetings in light of these concerns. The Personnel Committee will be holding a special meeting today, January 10th, at 5:30 pm. This meeting will be open for the public to attend, but will not be an open discussion for non-committee members; it is still a great opportunity to stay informed on the subject.
At 5:30 pm the following day, January 11th, the Board will convene for discussion on different matters within the district; however, if you would like to voice your concerns on the review of 1510 or other issues related to it, there will be three minutes allotted for each speaker to do so during the meeting.
As always, it is imperative that students and parents stay informed on current events and policy changes in the district.
Google Form to speak at the 1/11/2023 Special Board Meeting:
**Any requests to speak at the meeting must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting**