Remember the “good old days” when students walked into a schoolroom and then stood, hand over heart, to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America? The times they are a-changin’. Soon Oregon students will honor banners for both Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community along with the U.S. flag.
On May 6, the Gresham-Barlow School Board revised its “Flag Displays and Salutes” policy to be “more inclusive.” The debate was heated, as some members argued against requiring every teacher to comply immediately, but the majority had its way. According to the new proposal, “the district shall obtain and display a U.S. flag, a progressive pride flag or poster and a Black Lives Matter flag or poster of an appropriate size for each classroom.” Board member Robyn Stowers was quick to add that all the banners should be the same size as the U.S. flag.
The Oregon School Board Association sent a report to the district, warning that parents may be upset and even resist the new rules. Board member Kris Howatt brought this up during the discussion and asked if it was worth the backlash to force the new rule on all the teachers. She was informed by fellow member Amanda Orozco-Beach that she was “pushing white supremacy”:
“This is stalling. It’s pushing white supremacy. It’s getting in the way of progress … We are trying to make sure that everyone is seen and heard. This policy wouldn’t even be such a big deal if it wasn’t for board members trying to push this and get the public involved. This is just pushing unnecessary trauma and it’s really inappropriate.”
Do parents have a right to know what kind of symbols their children will be required to honor in class? Should they be allowed an opinion?
Howatt still resisted:
“How is putting this in the classroom with teachers that are not ready with students that want to ask questions or maybe don’t, how is this going to change if we say you have to do this? Anything that’s done where it’s mandatory feels like I don’t have a choice to learn and find out about it.”
Which National Anthem?
Part of the policy update included the Pledge of Allegiance, stating it should be recited at least once a week during the school year. Students will be expected to sing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” There will also be a “land acknowledgment” that must be recited, which is meant to recognize indigenous people as “traditional stewards of this land.”
On the administration side, the board revised its “position purpose” for the district’s superintendent, and Orozco-Beach wanted to make sure that racism would not be a part of the new vision:
“I want to include that we need to have a leader that understands that public schools are inherently racist institutions and they need to be committed to collaborate and work with the board to eliminate white supremacy culture in Gresham-Barlow schools. Our commitment to eliminating institutional racism and I think it’s important that if we hire our next superintendent that they would follow those values.”
Is the education system still that racist today, or is the woke, triggered society creating a worse situation?
As Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill put it:
“The insipid indoctrination of school-aged children by secular institutions is rewinding the hands of time, back to a time when things like the internment of Japanese Americans and racial segregation were accepted. What happened in those days, that was systemic racism.”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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