Sep 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Oregon school board bans political symbols from classrooms

Portland pride parade

Members of the Border Rider Motorcycle Group during the Portland Pride Parade and Festival. Photo: Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The school board of Newberg, Oregon, passed a resolution Tuesday banning teachers in the district from displaying “political, quasi-political or controversial" symbols in the classroom, The Oregonian reports.

Why it matters: The 4-3 vote comes after a couple of racist incidents happened in the school district, and the measure was approved despite teachers in the district rallying in opposition to it.

Details: The policy states that no employee can "hang, post, erect, or otherwise display" anything "political, quasi-political, or controversial ..."

  • It defined a controversial topic as "one that a professional educator could reasonably understand to have students on more than one side of said issue." American flags and Oregon state flags are exempt from the policy.
  • The policy first banned Black Lives Matter and Pride symbols in all school buildings but was amended after outcry and over worries about litigation, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: “We don’t pay our teachers to push their political views on our students. That’s not their place,” said Brian Shannon, vice chair of the Newberg school board, per the Post.

  • “We cannot let this group of 4 impose their own political agenda, erode our rights, and strip our support of our students. Our educators are united in their goal to create classrooms where students can walk in and feel like they belong," wrote the Newberg Education Association, a teachers union, on Facebook.
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