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School officials at a Boston suburb public high school informed faculty that political items such as Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags are banned from classrooms.
“We need to avoid placing items in the classroom that can cause disruption or distraction,” Stoughton High Principal Julliette Miller wrote in an email to staff last week, according to The Boston Globe. “We are an inclusive environment and want to maintain that inclusivity.”
Officials at Stoughton High, located about 22 miles from Boston, announced the rule at a faculty meeting last Wednesday, according to an anonymous employee of the school who spoke to The Boston Globe.
The anonymous employee voiced disappointment with the directive, arguing that displaying gay pride flags or BLM flags are not political in nature.
“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,” the faculty member said. “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.’”
In addition to pride and BLM flags, pro-police thin blue line flags are also banned from being displayed, according to the outlet.
The unnamed faculty member said that staff were also told not to “say the words DEI: Diversity, Equity Inclusion” because it is “politically charged,” according to The Boston Globe.
Superintendent Thomas Raab said in comment to the outlet that there is no official rule banning faculty from discussing DEI initiatives.
“We simply wanted them to be aware of the sensitivity of these topics,” he said.
Raab added in comment to Fox News Digital that he is “committed to diversity, equity and inclusion” and wants all students at the district “to know that they are supported and welcomed in school.”
“Over the last couple of years, teachers have been asked to remove potentially controversial items from their classrooms. This is 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,” he wrote in an email Tuesday.
Principal Miller added in her email to staff last week, following the faculty meeting, that the school’s directive is intended to create a welcoming environment for all students. She continued that the school district purchased LGBTQIA+ ally stickers for doorways of all classrooms that will be distributed once they are delivered.
Raab told Fox News Digital Tuesday that the ally stickers had been placed “at the entrances to our high school classrooms” as of Tuesday and the stickers will also be added to the district’s middle school classrooms.
Raab did not immediately respond to a question inquiring why ally stickers do not fall under the same category of political items as pride flags.
“Lessons and conversations around complex topics are an important part of the education our students receive, and I believe they can and should be addressed within the structured framework of age-appropriate lessons,” Raab continued in his Tuesday statement.
Stoughton High joins a growing list of schools across the country that have made similar moves, including in Wisconsin last month.
The Kettle Moraine School Board in Wisconsin voted in favor of a policy in August to ban gay pride flags, BLM flags and “We Back the Badge” signs from classrooms due to their political messaging.