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Gala Center criticizes handling of high school pride flag incident

Paso Robles Daily News
Paso Robles Daily News
 2021-10-16
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Gala Center releases statement on pride flag incident at Paso Robles High School

– The following is a statement from the Gala Pride and Diversity Center board and staff regarding recent vandalization of a classroom pride flag at Paso Robles High School:

Some LGBTQ+ students at Paso Robles High School have learned about our September 30, 2021 meeting with the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District regarding the district’s response to the recent removal, defecation on, and posting to TikTok of a classroom Pride flag.

That meeting has been characterized as The Gala Pride and Diversity Center approving of a Pride flag ban. The document The Gala Pride and Diversity Center representatives were shown during that meeting requested the removal of “any flags that meet the following criteria: Any flags larger than 2’x2’.”

What was actually released in the Directly Speaking article, “Classroom Displays,” stated that “the District is requiring any rainbow banners or flags be no larger than 2 feet square, that they do not include any overt political advocacy, that there be only one in any classroom, and that in no case may they involve any modification of an American flag or depiction thereof.”

While the current language in the Directly Speaking article, “Classroom Displays” could be interpreted as applying to any flag, it could also be interpreted as only referring to rainbow flags (aka Pride flags). Also during that meeting, our board and staff representatives were not made aware of the fact that the students had purchased several new Pride flags as a show of solidarity and did not have in mind that a standard outdoor flag size is 3′ x 5′ and a standard indoor classroom flag size is 2’ x 3’. Therefore a 2′ x 2′ limitation ultimately results in a Pride flag ban.

Today we consulted again with the District and were informed that the original standards of 2’ by 2’ remained “under review” while they sought input about the appropriate size. The District stated they will release updated standards reflecting this feedback in the near future. It is our understanding that Paso High LGBTQ+ students feel unsupported by Paso Robles High School, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District and The Gala Pride & Diversity Center. It is extremely clear that LGBTQ+ students do not feel safe or accepted at Paso Robles High School. We have heard this not just from current students, but also past LGBTQ+ students, who still carry traumatic memories of their time at that school.

Although we still support the plan to limit one Pride flag per classroom and to disallow any alteration to the American flag, based on the information not known during that September 30, 2021 meeting, we have requested the District remove the 2’x 2’ flag limitation and increase it to the standard indoor classroom size of 2’ x 3’.

The Gala Pride and Diversity Center will be sending representatives to the LGBTQ+ students’ forum on Oct. 20, which we hope that school officials, parents, school board members and all interested allies will also attend to hear directly from the students and the community of our LGBTQ+ youth and allies about their concerns and needs.

Lastly, during the September 30, 2021 meeting, the District promised to pass a draft of the statement that was to condemn the actions of the students who stole and defiled the Pride flag for comment before publication. Unfortunately, that statement went out in the “Directly Speaking” bulletin without an opportunity for our review and comment. Not only was the “Classroom Display” article not a condemnation of the students who perpetrated the Pride flag desecration, but it totally skirted the issue of the Pride flag, by using flowery language about rainbows. The issue was the hateful response to a Pride flag, not rainbow displays!

Today, Superintendent Dubost advised us that he addressed this issue at the District’s board meeting on October 12th, 2021. To the brave students of Paso Robles High School, who are putting together an amazing opportunity for us to truly listen to them, and all the LGBTQ+ students in San Luis Obispo County and beyond – we care about you and admire your tenacity.

-Board and Staff of The Gala Pride and Diversity Center

Comments / 4

Doofy Dog
10-16

The only flags should be state and country flags. No Antifa, no BLM, no gay flag and not even confederate flag. Yes the confederate flag is part of history (and before you rag on me I support flying the confederate flag just not at school.) but they should only be the legitimate flags only of state and country. Left wing indoctrination needs to stop, teachers need to teach without bias both left and right and if they can’t do that then they need to be removed from the classroom. It is about time we got back down to basics for example the LAUSD has an annual budget of over 2 billion dollars (that’s with a b not an m) and yet half the students cannot even read, write or do middle school maths without a calculator.

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