This Alabama school is being petitioned to remove its pride flag by angry parents
Angry parents and students of a school in Auburn, Alabama have raised a petition to remove the rainbow pride flag from campus. The petitioners are saying that the flag is comparative to the Confederate flag in terms of the amount of offence that it causes.
Local news channel, News 3, managed to obtain a copy of the letter that was addressed to the school's principal, which reads in part:
"The flag creates a hostile and provocative learning environment for students not comfortable openly supporting the LGBTQ Community."
The letter continues, "It’s unprofessional for the teachers to openly display their political views in an unbiased and socially neutral public setting– creating a hostile and uncomfortable learning environment."
The flag was on the campus as part of a yearly club fair, and was flown by the E.D.U.C.A.T.E Club, which aims to promote inclusiveness and diversity and they used the flag as part of their display at the fair. However, according to the petitioners, the use of this flag was just as offensive as if they had used the Confederate or a "Hetrosexual" flag.
In response to the angry petitioners, student Brandon Sinniger started his own counter-petition on Change.org, and in a sweet twist, his petition has gone on to accrue more than 6,000 signatures, over 10 times more than the original. Sinniger writes: "The pride flag and the AHS Educate club has served to provide a healthy environment for our LGBT+ peers to feel comfortable being who they truly are. The flag represents this safe space, and frankly, the sentiment for removing the pride flag is an affront to the work that has been done nationally to fight for recognition of the community."
Speaking about the response to his petition, Brandon said: "The response from the community here in Auburn, as well as signatures from all over the country has left me completely breathless,” Sinniger said. “The takeaway for me is not whether or not the flag stays up or is taken down. For me, it is extremely important that more than a thousand people were able to come together in solidarity for our LGBT community, here in our high school. The message that sends is stronger than keeping a flag hanging in a classroom window."
The district superintendent released a statement with regards to the issue, and remained neutral throughout, saying they will work with parents and the school to come to a mutual agreement:
"In our country today, people are often seen addressing their objections through violence and hate. It is my sincere desire to assist our students in learning to address their opinions and their values in a calm and respectful manner. This differing of opinions related to the E.D.U.C.A.T.E Club at Auburn High School affords our faculty and students an opportunity to learn and model a civil manner in which to resolve our differences."
She continued, saying: "We are looking at this matter from all aspects and would hope that everybody would handle this in a manner that we can deal with it in a way that we can move on and have orderly classroom learning going on."
Personally, I think it's a bit mad to ask for the removal of a symbol of love and unity, but that's just me. If you say that the Pride flag has to go, what message are you sending to the LGBTQ students at the school?