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School Board President Defends Order to Remove LGBTQ Pride Flags by Comparing Them to Ones ‘Supporting White Supremacy’

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An Indiana school board of trustees president is under fire after defending the board’s order to have LGBTQ pride flags removed from three high school classrooms at Pendleton Heights High School. Last week the school district ordered the flags removed from French, Spanish, and art classrooms, claiming they violated a policy forbidding “political paraphernalia,” The Herald Bulletin reports.

After an uproar, South Madison Board of Trustees President Bill Hutton sent a district-wide email to students, families, and school staff, comparing the LGBTQ pride flag with flags promoting “other groups,” including those “supporting white supremacy.”

“The issue with displaying the flag in a school is a double-edged sword. If an LGBTQ+ flag is allowed to be displayed, then any other group would have the same ability,” Hutton claimed. “That could include such flags as supporting white supremacy, which is in direct conflict with LGBTQ+. I hope we can model equality and support through our actions.”

But as many noted, comparing being LGBTQ to holding white supremacist beliefs is not supporting equality.

The board’s order and Hutton’s defense appears to expose what at least one student says is a lack of support for LGBTQ equality.

“LGBT students, including Tai Wills, disagree that the flags are political,” The Herald Bulletin reports.

“Why would you compare a racist flag?” Wills, a 16-year old sophomore at Pendleton Heights High School, said. “Those two have nothing to do with each other.”

“One is about inclusiveness and the other is about hate and exclusion, and I don’t think that’s the same thing at all,” she observed. “It’s already hard dealing with bullying and judgmental kids, and now you can’t even have a flag saying, ‘We support you in the classroom.’”

The Herald Bulletin adds that “Wills said she worries about the mental health and educational success of her classmates. South Madison’s schools during the 2018-19 school year had a rash of suicides and suicide attempts at all grade levels, some of which did involve LGBT students.”

In reality, Wills said, Pendleton Heights has not been supportive of its LGBT students. For instance, last year she started the Gay-Straight Alliance but was told they could not post fliers and raise money like the other clubs.

“Their only excuse was, ‘It’s a sensitive topic,’” Wills adds. “It didn’t really feel like we were a club because we weren’t allowed to do much.”

Pendleton Heights High School junior Bryce Axel-Adams, “started an online petition to allow the flags to be displayed again. He had hoped for several dozen supporters — he had received nearly 3,000 signatures as of Thursday morning,” The Indy Star reports.

That number is now over 4300.

“As a freshman, I remember walking by (a teacher’s) classroom,” Bryce said. “She had it right on the wall so when you were passing by and looking into her room you could see it.”

“I remember walking by her classroom, glancing at it and just being happy. I knew we had an ally here at the school.”

The flags, which had been up for over a year, remain removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US Dept. of Defense Bans LGBTQ Pride Flags at Military Bases

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The United States Department of Defense will not allow LGBTQ Pride flags to be flown at military bases, in direct contradiction to policies across the executive branch, from the White House to the U.S. Department of State.

The Pentagon says it will “maintain existing policy for the display of unofficial flags” and “not grant an exception to display the Pride flag,” CNN reports.

That policy is a Trump-era policy. Under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, the LGBTQ Pride flag was allowed.

In 2020 Defense Secretary Mark Esper banned any “unofficial” flags, a reported attempt to ban Confederate flags.

The Confederate flag is the flag of a treasonous and traitorous group of Americans who fought the United States of America. The LGBTQ flag is a non-political, non-partisan flag that represents a segment of the American people and their allies.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin plans on participating in Pride Month events next week, and “encourages all commands to likewise find ways to recognize the service and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community in defense of this nation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Kirby says the decision to not allow the LGBTQ Pride flag to be flown does not “in any way reflect on the respect and admiration we feel for all our LGBTQ+ personnel in and out of uniform.”

 

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Facebook Will Allow Donald Trump to Return After 2 Years and an Assessment Despite ‘Severe Violation of Our Rules’

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Facebook has just announced Donald Trump, the former president who incited an insurrection and was “indefinitely banned,” will be allowed to return after a two-year period, if he passes an assessment at that time. The two-year period gives Trump just enough time to flood the social media platform with advertising dollars should he run again for president. He could be eligible to return in January 2023.

“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said in a statement Friday as ABC News reports.

Trump was banned from Facebook for having “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”

Facebook indefinitely banned Trump on January 6, the day of the Capitol Hill insurrection he incited.  An independent review board created by Facebook upheld that ban saying: “Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7.” 

But Facebook appears to suggest that the former president has a right to be on their platform, and an irrevocable, permanent ban is nearly impossible.

“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Clegg says in the Facebook statement. “We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”

“When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

Trump was impeached twice, and is currently facing at minimum several criminal investigations.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

 

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AZ Republicans Move to Strip Dem Secretary of State of Election Defense Duties – and Ability to Fly LGBTQ Flag

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Arizona Republican lawmakers on Tuesday moved to strip the state’s chief elections officer of one of her most important election duties: defending the state’s elections in court. Republicans have been waging a war against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who opposes the Senate Republican President’s Cyber Ninja “recount.”

“Political score-settling is not supposed to be part of the budgeting process, but you will have a hard time convincing Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee of that,” is how Arizona’s ABC 15 News reported the latest development.

“On Tuesday morning, the Appropriations Committee stripped Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of her ability to defend election lawsuits. It gave the power exclusively to the Attorney General.”

The Arizona Attorney General is currently a Republican.

And to show that this is absolutely a power grab, stripping the Secretary of State of that critical election responsibility expires at the end of Hobbs’ term.

While they were busy attacking Hobbs, Arizona Republicans also struck back at her for daring to fly the LGBTQ pride flag from the Capitol Museum in 2019.

According to ABC 15, her decision to fly the flag on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall during Pride month “infuriated both the Speaker of the House and the Senate President,” both Republicans. Republicans forced it to be removed almost immediately.

On Tuesday Republicans not only moved to strip her of her ability to fly the flag from the Capitol Museum, they moved to strip her of her entire oversight of the Capitol Museum.

ABC 15 notes the entire legislation will have to approve these changes, but given the GOP majority in the Arizona legislature – 16-14 in the Senate, 31-29 in the House – it probably will pass.

Hobbs issued a statement slamming Republicans:

 

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