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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Students speak out after Pride flag removal at Indiana school [UPDATE]
2021-04-14

This article shared 2303 times since Wed Apr 14, 2021
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Students spoke out April 12 against the removal of Pride flags at a middle school in northwest Indiana, according to CBS Chicago.

According to ABC7Chicago.com, a Black Lives Matter poster was also removed.

LGBTQ students addressed the Duneland School Corporation board in Chesterton, Indiana, after teachers at Chesterton Middle School were instructed to remove the rainbow flags from classrooms.

The order reportedly resulted in dozens of students walking out of class on April 9.

One student read a letter to the principal to the school—taking issue with claims that the pride flags were "disruptive" and saying they were treated differently from other items such as sports team memorabilia and movie posters that are set up in classrooms without issue.

In a statement sent to Windy City Times, Duneland said, "The Duneland School Corporation is committed to ensuring safe, collaborative and accountable learning environments based on integrity, honesty, and responsibility for all. Last week, students and parents at Chesterton Middle School expressed concerns regarding items in three classrooms that conflicted with their personal social and/or political beliefs.

"The complaints were reviewed, and it was determined the items were not directly related to the curriculum for those respective classrooms. The complaints caused a significant disruption to the learning environment and the items were asked to be removed. The Duneland School Corporation promotes inclusion and diversity, while striving to maintain a learning environment in which all students and staff are respected without promoting or advocating a particular point of view.

"On [April 9], CMS had 25-35 students express their displeasure for the removal of the items by walking out of school for 20 minutes. The Duneland School Corporation does not condone walking out of school because it is a disruption to the educational process and presents unique challenges from a student safety standpoint. With that in mind, we also understand that decisions regarding daily attendance and student participation in events such as a walkout are personal for each student and family. During [the] walkout, school administrators, staff and members of the Chesterton Police Department monitored the situation to ensure the safety of our students."

Chesterton Middle School Principal, Mike Hamacher said, "We respect the rights of students and staff to express themselves. From time to time, there are situations in which students and/or staff may express their point of view on a social or political issue that some may see as controversial or offensive. In these instances, if there is a disruption to the learning environment, a student or staff member may be asked to refrain from continuing to promote that point of view. This is done to ensure a safe and equitable learning environment for all."

—Andrew Davis


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