The Anne Arundel County School Board members have taken a clear stand against the recent proposal to ban flags on school properties. According to CBS News, on July 12, the school board voted to allow flags on the county’s educational grounds instead.
Upon introducing the flag ban, which would include Black Lives Matter, Pride, and similar flags, teachers and parents gathered outside of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education Building on Wednesday morning. Two distinct opinions arose during the protest; some were firmly against the flag ban, and others supported allowing educators to choose.
The President of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel, Nicole Disney-Bates, told the outlet, “We’ve never been told how to decorate our classrooms before or how to make our students feel included before or not included, and now it appears that we are being told.” Nicole organized the protest that took place outside of the education building against the policy.
Corine Frank, a board member, brought up the policy itself. The policy would allow the schools to present the United States flag and other countries’ flags, but any other flags would have to be approved by each individual school’s principals. The school board members voted against the flag ban, with four against, three in favor, and one who abstained.
When asked why most board members voted against the flag ban, Disney-Bates worried about the policy affecting inclusivity in the county’s schools. She said, “We feel that classrooms should be free spaces for people to express themselves, and we would like to keep that going in Anne Arundel County.’
A fifth-grade teacher in Anne Arundel County added, “Flags are a symbol of community and belonging. This policy would greatly limit the educator’s ability to visually demonstrate that all our students are welcome in our schools.”
Others in agreement expressed, “A teacher’s rainbow flag in their classroom sends a message to students that they are accepted just as they are,” and “Classrooms, as a former teacher, are places where relationships that cultivate a sense of belonging for students are created.”
On the other side of the flag ban, Corine Frank explained that the ban was an effort to keep classrooms neutral.
“Public schools cannot endorse one value system that runs contrary to the others because to do so makes other students feel marginalized and excluded.”
A parent in support of the policy said, “Unfortunately, other flags in the classroom divide them and are distractions to their education. Flags do not protect children. An environment where they can learn and thrive does.”
Despite the back-and-forth discourse between the two sides, ultimately, the vote swayed in favor of the board members to reject the proposal.