According to The Morning Call, officials from a Pennsylvania school district asked a middle school teacher to remove a rainbow flag — a symbol of support for the LGBTQ community — from a classroom wall, his teacher confirmed on Sunday. superintendent.
The teacher agreed to remove the flag after “an extremely cordial and productive conversation,” Dallas School District Superintendent Thomas Duffy said.
Duffy said someone contacted Luzerne County District officials earlier this month objecting to the flag.
After seeking a legal opinion from District Attorney Vito DeLuca, Duffy said, “His legal opinion was that generally the flag had to do with political underpinnings and he recommended that it be removed.”
The question of whether a rainbow flag should be displayed in a public school is “a bit of uncharted territory,” he said.
According to the publication, the legal notice led to “an open conversation” with the teacher and others in the district, Duffy said.
“The teacher and the administration understood where we were coming from,” he said. “We also talked about the importance of making sure all students feel safe in all classrooms.”
The decision to remove the flag “does not reflect the feelings of the district regarding what the flag represents,” Duffy said. “It’s more about what can be displayed on a classroom wall.”
According to the publication, district employees and officials are committed to providing “an increasingly tolerant and caring culture within our schools,” he said.
A rainbow flag was also removed from a second classroom, Duffy said.
He did not release the names of the teachers who removed the flags or confirm the level or levels they were teaching. Dallas Middle School includes grades 6-8.
Social media posts to a private Facebook group called Back Mountain Diversity on Sunday said the issue involved a seventh-grade teacher.
The Morning Call said attempts to get comment from members of that group had failed.
Additionally, no phone number could be located for Mary Beth Zardus, president of the Dallas Education Association, the union that represents teachers in the district.
Dallas high school teacher and former union president Michael Cherinka said he didn’t hear about the rainbow flag controversy until Sunday.