A policy that would have banned Pride flags from Anne Arundel County public school properties in Maryland was rejected by a vote of 4-3 on Wednesday.
The proposed policy would have banned the public display of all flags other than the American, Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and city of Annapolis flags. However, the policy would not have prevented students, employees, volunteers, or visitors from adorning their clothing or personal belongings with any non-governmental flags.
Although the policy would have restricted many flags in addition to the Pride and BLM flags, opponents of the proposed policy primarily focused on the fact that the Pride and BLM flags would be prohibited, The Daily Wire reports.
Board members Joanna Bache Tobin, Robert Silkworth, Dana Schallheim, and Eric Lin voted against the policy banning non-governmental flags. Board members Michelle Corkadel, Melissa Ellis, and Corine Frank voted for it. One board member, Gloria Dent, abstained from voting.
Corkadel said a teacher displaying an ideologically-charged flag in a classroom forces some students to exist in an environment that contradicts their beliefs.
“At the end of the day, what we are currently facing are students who feel they have to choose between their religious belief and their public education,” said Corkadel. “I have to take the people of faith — who are a protected class under our Constitution — that when they say they are not being valued as a result of trying to value another, I think we need to find a better way.”
Superintendent Mark Bedell objected to the policy, saying that nobody “wins when we enact one inequity to solve another perceived inequity.”
Lin said the public display of a Pride flag is not about “teaching kids an ideology, but rather that people of all natures exist and it is important to respect all.”
The Daily Wire reported that about 2,000 public comments were submitted on the proposed policy, and “some members of the public in attendance [at the vote] erupted into cheers when the policy failed.”