By Taylor Johnson and Shain Bergan
OSAWATOMIE, Kansas (KCTV) — Osawatomie students are protesting in front of the high school Tuesday morning after the School Board voted 5-2 to remove LGBTQ Pride flags from school classrooms.
Students say they are advocating for the personal rights of their community, but School Board members say they are simply enforcing a policy that states only the Kansas flag and American flag may be on display in the classroom.
During a special meeting of the Board, some members expressed that they believe hanging a Pride flag makes a political statement and could be considered a distraction. The Board also talked about seeking legal counsel on how to handle the issue.
“I don’t think it’s ridiculous to be having this conversation,” said Board member Richard Fisher during the special meeting. “It’s board policy, so if you think that’s ridiculous—It’s not ridiculous.”
“It’s not that the Board policy is ridiculous,” responded Board member DJ Needham. “I don’t think we understand what the law says about it. I think it’s a gray area.”
The School Board is scheduled to meet again May 9.
In a separate school district on the other side of the state line, the Grain Valley School Board directed administrators to remove stickers and cards many teachers had voluntarily put up to indicate the area as a safe space for LGBTQ students and for questions regarding LGBTQ issues.
A statement from Grain Valley Schools said this happened after the School Board “received a concern” about the cards and stickers.
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