OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — The Osawatomie Board of Education is debating whether an LGBTQ pride flag is considered political and if it violates a district policy.
The school board met Wednesday night during a special meeting to discuss the issue.
A board member said a student mentioned there was a rainbow pride flag displayed in a classroom, and it goes against a policy that prohibits political activity.
That policy is called “GBRK,” which says staff members are not allowed to use school time, property or school equipment for the purpose of furthering the interests of a political party, campaign or issue.
“I don’t think it’s a political issue,” board member D.J. Needham said Wednesday.
But not everyone on the board agreed.
“I just don’t think teachers should be displaying their political beliefs in the classroom and personal beliefs in the classroom,” board member Kristal Powell said.
Ultimately, majority of the board decided to stick with the current policy.
“The motion is that district administration will enforce board policy GBRK with the understanding that an object will be removed from the classroom if the object does not meet the curriculum of the class and that the specific item in question is to be included,” Superintendent Justin Burchett said.
The board plans on seeking legal counsel on its decision, if an LGBTQ pride flag is considered a political object, if it creates a distraction in the classroom and how to proceed with removing it.
One parent, who didn’t want to be named, said she doesn’t think the flag belongs in the classroom and it could be a distraction from learning.
Others think this opens up the debate for every poster or symbol that might offend someone.
“It opens a big door to, ‘Is a poster of Albert Einstein political or a picture of mockingbird for a creative writing class?'” Osawatomie resident Shawn Pavone said. “What is political? What’s the fine line?”
FOX4 reached out to the superintendent and several board members for comment on the special meeting, but no one returned our calls or emails requests.
The next board meeting is scheduled for May 9.