Madison City School (MCS) teachers were told to take down rainbow flags, according to a statement from the school district superintendent Ed Nichols.
Rainbow flags, or “pride” flags, have been used as a symbol for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since the late 1970s.
Nichols said that the flags were taken down to prevent teachers from displaying personal views. MCS teachers are now only allowed to display the American or Alabama state flags or flags relevant to the curriculum.
Nichols said that if he were to allow one teacher to express their viewpoint, he would have to allow other teachers to express opposing viewpoints, which he didn’t think would be welcoming to students.
Nichols insisted that MCS schools should be welcoming to students of different religions, political beliefs or sexual orientations.
According to reports, students will still be able to display flags during meetings for clubs like Gay-Straight Alliance, which is still present in MCS.
The flags were ordered to be taken down amid a new state policy barring teachers from discussing sexuality and gender identity with young students.
Last spring, the Alabama legislature passed a bill requiring students to use restroom facilities in schools according to their biological sex. The bill had been amended to also restrict classroom instruction on these sex-related issues for kindergarten to fifth-grade students.
The amendment mirrored a similar bill in Florida, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, and prohibited discussion of sexuality and gender identity for students from kindergarten to the third grade.
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