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School board members claim some teachers felt 'bullied' into displaying LBGTQ rainbow flags in classrooms
Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

School board members claim some teachers felt 'bullied' into displaying LBGTQ rainbow flags in classrooms

Members of a Maryland public school board claimed some teachers felt "bullied" into displaying LBGTQ rainbow flags in their classrooms after an LGBTQ group donated them, Fox News reported.

What are the details?

The Westminster chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays donated the smaller-sized rainbow flags to Carroll County Public Schools, and district staff members were encouraged to display them as support for the LGBTQ community, the cable network said.

School board members said at Wednesday's meeting that some teachers felt "bullied" into displaying the flag, and that the flag violates the district’s recently revised political neutrality policy, Fox News added.

"Our students are a captive audience and as such need to be protected from all political agendas, both from the right and the left," school board member Donna Sivigny said during the meeting, the cable outlet said. "I also respect the rights of teachers to work in a non-hostile work environment, deliver an effective lesson, and support all kids in the best way that they can, but we require that they do it in a politically neutral way that creates a safe space for every student in our schools. However, many teachers have reached out to me saying that they've been pressured or bullied to put flags in their classroom, and that's a problem that needs to be addressed."

School board President Kenneth Kiler added that "these flags were shoved down teachers’ throats to put on their desk — that’s not inclusive. That’s not the way it ought to be," Fox News noted.

School board member Tara Battaglia said use of the rainbow flag in schools represents "social advocacy" and is "political," the cable network said.

However, Superintendent Steven Lockard said during the meeting that the rainbow flags were available to any staff member who wanted them, and they weren't forced upon anyone, Fox News added.

Now what?

In the wake of the controversy, the school board voted to develop a new flag policy that may allow only the U.S. flag, Maryland state flag, and Carroll County flag to be displayed in classrooms, Fox News said.

"We support the board’s decision to revisit the flag policy and fully back the recommendations by its members to restrict the use of flags/symbols to the U.S., Maryland state, and county flags," local group Concerned Parents of Carroll County said in a statement to Fox News. "The coordinated effort by our school system to make every classroom a billboard for political and social justices causes was a step too far that disrupted the learning environment and divided our community. Teachers and parents alike want a returned focus on providing an academic education to our students."

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