LGBTQ+ Pride Flags Removed from Madison City Schools

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Faculty members and students of the Madison City School District (MCS) are speaking out after teachers were asked to remove their LGBTQ+ Pride flags.

The rainbow flag dates from the 1970s and was created as a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ+ community.

At the end of the school day on Friday, teachers at some schools were ordered by the superintendent to remove the pride flag from their classrooms.

The action to remove the flags made the rounds on social networks. The students saw the flag as a symbol of one of the few ways to express their freedom.

The students tell News 19 that seeing the flag let them know the school was a safe haven for them. School, they said, was one of the few places where they could be themselves. A student said he was confused by MCS’s actions to remove the flag from schools, regardless of the reasons given.

“By lowering the flag, they inadvertently took a stand on their views on gay rights,” the student said. “Even though they say it’s just politics, they have [put] themselves on the side they believe in, and that side is homophobia.

The Madison City Superintendent of Schools released a statement, suggesting the flag represented a teacher’s political stance.

The statement reads as follows:

We recently responded to the inappropriate display of flags and symbols in classrooms representing the personal views of teachers and staff unrelated to the classroom curriculum.

As school administrators, we must maintain a position of neutrality on political issues and not impose a teacher’s personal opinions and beliefs on our students through such classroom displays. For this reason, flags and banners other than the U.S. state or Alabama flag, or other flags appropriate to the curriculum of a particular class, are not to be displayed in our schools by teachers and the personal. Allowing teachers and staff to display flags on school grounds regarding political, religious or cultural issues can create an environment of exclusion for some students who have different views on sexuality, religion or politics.

This is true regardless of the political point of view expressed.

For every teacher allowed to display flags in the classroom to express a personal point of view in favor of a certain political or cultural position, the district could be faced with a teacher who expresses an opposing point of view with equal vigor. Such postings on either side are not intended to provide an open and welcoming environment for all.

All classrooms in schools in the city of Madison must be welcoming to students, regardless of religious affiliation or political or sexual orientation. All classrooms in schools in the city of Madison must be presented as safe places for all students.

Of course, we recognize that faculty and staff have different views on these issues. While we expect all faculty and staff to exercise appropriate professional neutrality within the context of the school and classroom environment, we also recognize freedom of speech and expression of each in his personal life and in his personal expression exercised outside of school. Madison City Schools has always celebrated diversity and will continue to do so.

Dr. Ed Nichols, Superintendent of Schools for the City of Madison

It was also heard that the gay-straight alliance club had been disbanded, but the superintendent said that was not true and that “any action to ban clubs or student organizations related to issues of sexual orientation is false”.

Rick Chandler, a Libertarian candidate for state senate in District 3, says political views are too distracting when displayed in the classroom.

“In this environment, you have to focus on all of the reading, writing, and history,” Chandler said. “You don’t need these distractions and if it only distracts a few of them, it’s not worth it.”


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