WESTFIELD, Ind.– Westfield Washington students led a protest on Tuesday, after comments made by the superintendent about removing certain flags from classrooms.
The protest comes after the superintendent told a group of students that flags, such as Black Lives Matter and pride flags or political flags, would not be allowed in the classroom.
Students arranged a ‘walk for equity’ to support what they call symbols of inclusion in classrooms.
“There’s a difference between flags that promote hate and flags that promote inclusion,” said Westfield parent Jennifer Hill. She says removing flags for black lives matter or pride could send the wrong message to students, that they’re not welcome. “The actual idea of removing a flag that promotes inclusive and that sense of value to me is just really sad,” Hill said.
While the superintendent denied our request for an interview, officials did tell me there isn’t a policy concerning flags in the classroom right now. Adding, teachers and administrators have the ability to create the environment they see fit and decide what is and is not allowed in the classroom.
“It would end a lot of divisiveness in the community if he would come out and be straightforward,” said parent Alisha Hunter.
In an email to parents, high school principal Alicia Denniston said quote, “Currently, we are allowing student support symbols, with the exception of full-body flags.” She says students are allowed to bring support symbols unless they become significant disruptions to the educational environment.
“That’s really been the only communication with parents,” Hunter said. Hunter says she’s met with the superintendent multiple times to express her concerns. She says as a parent of a child who is part of the LGTBQ community, clarity is needed surrounding what is and is not allowed.
“I wish the schools, school board and superintendent would be more clear about what they want to see, how they want to handle it but it’s been pretty hush,” Hunter said.
Students are planning to attend the Westfield Washington school board meeting and share their thoughts during the public comment portion, requesting a policy regarding flags in the classroom.
We have learned the creation of a policy is not on the agenda.