The National Education Association (NEA) teachers union in Illinois recently shared a video about the importance of knowing your rights as an educator to display “symbols of diversity” in the classroom, specifically citing Black Lives Matters posters and progressive transgender pride flags as examples.
The video notes that schools “can control” what teachers display in the classroom, but says schools can’t single out certain viewpoints for discrimination. So educators are encouraged to carefully check the district policies, employee handbook, and collective bargaining agreements before displaying any of these so-called “symbols of diversity” that other people might consider to be “political propaganda”.
If a school objects to hanging BLM posters and transgender pride flags, educators are encouraged to speak to their union reps. The union further encourages educators to become progressive DEI activists in and out of school, to support student activists, and much more in a special guide on Educator Rights.
The union guidance is centered on progressive issues, not conservative issues.
The video specifically mentioned a case in Connecticut where a local education association joined with certain parents and students to challenge a district policy that prevented the hanging of pride flags in schools, and they won.
Greenwich Patriots asked Superintendent Toni Jones about the policy in Greenwich to better understand whether educators are permitted to hang political propaganda in support of Black Lives Matter, and whether educators are allowed to hang progressive transgender pride flags in Greenwich schools or distribute transgender pride materials to students.
Superintendent Jones quickly responded to the question, indicating the district reviews the policy each year with staff. "Please go to https://go.boarddocs.com/ct/greenwich/Board.nsf/vpublic?open and you can look at GPS Policy 1311.1 and Regulation 1311.2R which both pertain to staff,” said Jones.
Except the policies she cited do not explicitly answer the question, and seem to pertain more to activities tied to political campaigns.
So Jones was once again asked, "Is it permitted for educators in Greenwich to distribute or post politically-biased materials (e.g., Black Lives Matters posters, transgender / progressive pride flags), per the teacher's union recommendation? This is a Yes or No question.”
That was on Monday.
It’s now Friday, and Jones still hasn't answered this simple "yes or no" question.
Why is this such a difficult question for her to answer?
Is it because parents already know that certain educators are passing out progressive transgender pride stickers to students throughout the school year, and not just during pride month?
What would happen if educators were caught passing out pro-life stickers so that conservative students could feel like they were “seen” and “included"? Would that be allowed? Would a pro-life flag be allowed to hang beside the pride flag in the high school student center? What about an “All Lives Matter” or an “Unborn Lives Matter” sign, would either of those be permitted?
In response to the issue, a parent has kindly offered to donate a pro-life flag to hang in the high school student center. Whether the Superintendent will accept the donation remains to be seen.