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A president of the board of trustees of an Indiana school comes under fire after defending the committee’s order to remove LGBTQ Pride flags from three high school classrooms at Pendleton Heights High School. Last week the school district ordered the flags removed from French, Spanish and art classrooms, claiming they violated a policy that bans “political paraphernalia,” reports The Herald Bulletin.

After a riot, Bill Hutton, president of the South Madison Board of Trustees, sent a district-wide email to students, families, and school staff comparing the LGBTQ pride flag to flags promoting “other groups,” including those who do “Support white supremacy”.

“The problem with flying the flag in a school is a double-edged sword. If an LGBTQ + flag was allowed to be displayed, any other group would have the same ability, ”Hutton claimed. “This could include flags like support for white supremacy, which is in direct conflict with LGBTQ +. I hope we can exemplify and support equality through our actions. “

But, as many noted, comparing LGBTQ to holding beliefs of white supremacy does not support equality.

The board’s arrangement and Hutton’s defense seem to expose what at least one student calls a lack of support for LGBTQ equality.

“LGBT students, including Tai Wills, don’t think the flags are political,” reports The Herald Bulletin.

“Why would you compare a racist flag?” Wills, a 16-year-old student at Pendleton Heights High School, said. “The two have nothing to do with each other.”

“One is about inclusivity and the other is about hatred and exclusion, and I think it’s not the same at all,” she noted. “It’s hard to deal with harassing and judgmental children, and now you can’t even have a flag that says ‘We support you in your class’.”

The Herald Bulletin added, “Wills said she was concerned about the mental health and educational success of her classmates. There were a number of suicides and suicide attempts at all grade levels in South Madison schools in the 2018-19 school year, some of which involved LGBT students. “

In reality, Wills said, Pendleton Heights did not support its LGBT students. For example, she founded the Gay-Straight Alliance last year, but was told they couldn’t publish leaflets and raise money like the other clubs.

“Their only excuse was, ‘It’s a sensitive subject,'” adds Wills. “We didn’t really feel like a club because we weren’t allowed to do much.”

Pendleton Heights High School Junior Bryce Axel-Adams, “started an online petition to get the flags back up. He was hoping for several dozen supporters – by Thursday morning he had received almost 3,000 signatures, ”reports The Indy Star.

That number is now over 4,300.

“As a freshman, I remember walking past a teacher’s classroom,” said Bryce. “She had it right on the wall so you could see it if you walked past and looked into her room.”

“I remember walking past her classroom and looking at it and just being happy. I knew we had an ally here at the school. “

The flags that have been erected for over a year remain removed.

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