Stoughton, Massachusetts, a suburb about 20 miles outside of Boston, is making headlines for enforcing a controversial decision. The decision was made by the suburb’s local high school. Stoughton High has decided to ban the display of “political” signs or flags such as those partial to causes like “We Back the Badge”, Pride, and Black Lives Matter.
New “Staff Guidelines”
Juliette Miller, the school’s principal, sent out an email to staff last week stating, “We need to avoid placing items in the classroom that can cause disruption or distraction. We are an inclusive environment and want to maintain that inclusivity.” According to a report given by the Boston Globe, staff members were also told to refrain from saying a phrase that is considered politically charged. DEI: Diversity, Equity Inclusion basically means creating equal opportunities for everyone.
It is defined by dictionary.com as a conceptual framework that promotes the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace, including populations who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination because of their background, identity, disability, etc.[dictionary] It originated as Diversity, Inclusion in the ’90s and sometime in the early 2000s adapted Equity into the mix.
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Last Wednesday an employee of the school, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to the Boston Globe. During the interview the employee expressed dissatisfaction with the board’s decision, arguing that displaying these flags isn’t a political statement. The anonymous staff member said, of the ban, “Pride flags help LGBTQIA+ students feel safe and welcomed in school. Taking down Pride flags could hurt students’ well-being and make them feel like they have nowhere to run. Having a rainbow or BLM flag in our rooms isn’t pushing your beliefs on someone or displaying any political views. It is just saying, ‘Hey, you’re welcome here, and we support you.’”
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Officials Respond to Backlash.
The Boston Globe interviewed various members of the faculty to get a sense of why they made a decision that would create so much controversy. The district’s superintendent denies the allegations that the staff was instructed to see this ban through. He stated, in an email to Globe, “We simply wanted them (staff) to be aware of the sensitivity of these topics, part of a consistent effort by the district to limit potential disruptions to students’ learning, so that our students and faculty can focus on educational lessons inside the classroom.”
Stoughton High was not the first high school to put into effect the ban on “political” flags. The list is growing with school boards across the country making these policy changes. Last month, Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine School Board voted in favor of the policy change to remove these signs and flags from school classrooms because of their “political messaging”. It is unknown at this time how many other schools are voting to implement these changes but there will likely be more to follow suit.
Controversial topics faced in America continue to cause disagreements and discrepancies but schools are a place meant to nurture, teach, and encourage children’s growth.
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- “Dei definition & meaning.” Dictionary. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- “‘Political’ items like black lives matter, pride flags ordered out of Stoughton High Classrooms.” Boston. Morgan Rousseau. September 18, 2022
- “Stoughton High School faculty told not to display items in classroom deemed ‘political’ – The Boston Globe. Boston Globe. Adria Watson. September 16, 2022.