Temecula school board votes to approve policy banning pride flags from campuses

Jory Rand Image
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Temecula school board votes to approve new policy on flag displays
At a contentions meeting, the Temecula Valley Unified School District board voted to adopt a new policy governing the display of flags at campuses within the district.

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- At a contentious meeting on Tuesday, the Temecula Valley Unified School District board voted to adopt a controversial new policy governing the display of flags at campuses within the district.

Last month, the school board approved a plan to notify parents if their children identify as transgender. On Tuesday night, the panel voted in favor of banning all flags at the district's campuses - except the U.S. and California state flags - unless they have the superintendent's approval.

Many see the move as a direct attack on the gay pride flag. The board never singled out that flag, and said the new policy was not about any specific flag.

But some parents seemed to believe it was clear what the ban was all about.

"It makes me so upset, and that is the reason why I'm up here," one woman said during the meeting's public comment segment. "That I have to go to my child's school and see a rainbow flag hung on a wall. We don't need to know what your personal sexual preference is."

Other parents clung to the idea - debunked generations ago - that if a child is told about a gay person, they will somehow be turned gay.

"Do you know how children work? When they see something, they become curious," another woman said, addressing the school board members. "When they become curious, they want to try it out."

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There were also parents fighting against the ban.

"Pride flags represent inclusivity - not sex, you weirdos," a woman said during public comment.

One man, a Navy veteran, asked the board members: "How delicate is your sense of democracy that it's threatened by a pride flag?

"Taking down a pride flag is telling people they're not wanted," he said. "How un-American is that? You're telling them, 'Go into the closet. Be quiet. We don't want to see you. We don't want to acknowledge you.'"

But in the end the ban passed on a vote of 3-2.

Daniel Molina, another military veteran who attended the meeting, said he was "pretty happy" with the outcome. He wore a T-shirt with two small U.S. flags on the front and the words "Families and Parents First."

"I think that the American flag does promote total inclusivity of everybody," Molina said.

The meeting and the ban came amid a rise in attacks on the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.

As one student representative noted at the beginning of the meeting, it was being held during National Suicide Prevention Week, which began on Sept. 10. LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers, according to the Trevor Project.

Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the vote passed 5-0, which has since been corrected.