By Mila Lemoine, age 10 and IndyKids staff
Some state lawmakers don’t want pride flags in schools. They argue that LGBTQ+ flags are “too political” and “divisive” (something that causes a lot of disagreement and separates people) for classroom use. Several states have already decided to ban pride flags in schools and classrooms, including Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Florida and Texas.
“We don’t pay our teachers to push their political views on our students,” said Brian Shannon, a school board member in Newberg, Ore., according to NBC News. “That’s not their place.”
If the flags become banned across the country, LGBTQ+ students are more likely to encounter bullying. Pride flags are significant because they symbolize acceptance and solidarity with LGBTQ+ movements, not just in the United States but around the world. Banning them in schools could mean some students won’t feel welcome.
High school student Victor Frausto from MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, identifies as gay and leads his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club. Frausto told NBC News that LGBTQ+ stickers that were being removed at his school made him feel like he did not belong. “Feeling safe should not be political,” Frausto said. He is concerned that this will lead to additional harassment against him and the other LGBTQ+ students.
A recent study by The Trevor Project, a nonprofit seeking to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ youth, found that students who described their schools as “LGBTQ-affirming” were 30% less likely to be bullied. Experts on the subject suggest that these findings reinforce the importance of forming safe learning and social environments for LGBTQ+ students in schools.
Amy Green, Ph.D., vice president of research for The Trevor Project, told Healthline that “the creation of safe and supportive schools” is vital for the health and well-being of schoolchildren. This includes, she explains, something as simple as displaying a pride flag.