The over-political reach of the school board would require that all symbols be removed from classrooms.
Following the temporary removal by Gail Grobey of the American flag from her class, I would like to elucidate a few finer points.
As a student of Newberg High School, I am aware that the Newberg School Board’s ban on “postings” is intended to bring political symbols out of the classroom. The rhetoric of the four school board members and their supporters argues that it is almost exclusively the postings and advocacy for BLM and Pride that have such a disastrous effect on the school environment.
Certainly these topics are controversial, but it is also true that the American flag is not a uniform symbol, especially not in recent times. The American flag has been flown by some groups with alarming intentions such as the fascist Proud Boys and those who stormed the capital of the United States on January 6, but the worst that can be leveled enough against the BLM flag is that ‘it has been used by groups who have caused damage to city blocks, while demanding racial justice.
Obviously, the American flag represents much more than reactionary nativism and aims to unite us, but when it begins to be co-opted to represent insidious political goals, it loses its uniform semiotic meaning. As the four members of the Board of Directors continually remind us, the same goes for the BLM flag.
Many of those who support the actions of these board members have told me that they think BLM’s “idea” is good, but cannot stand the riots that a small portion of its members have. carried out. By banning its display, however, the actions of the council members suggest that they view the BLM and Pride movement as morally equivalent to groups whose symbols have already been banned because they represent something truly terrible, like the Battle Flag. Confederate and worse. If schools are to follow the board’s directive, which seeks to eliminate controversial displays, the American flag should also be banned. The flag represents the values of freedom and the sacrifices that have been made for it, just as BLM represents racial equality. The American flag has the unique status of the flag around which citizens of the world’s most powerful nation congregate, but it has also been used as a symbol to validate actions that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
Compared to the BLM flag, this duality of symbolic meaning makes the American flag an irrefutable absolute, but also a symbol, as Ms. Grobey recognized, which means “threat and intolerance”.
Of course, many were angered by its removal because they only see the American flag as a clearly defined symbol, which is understandable. At the very least, I hope that the temporary removal of the flag will make people realize that any attempt to restrict controversial topics in schools is not by people intending to eliminate prejudice, but only those who want to silence those who support the pride movement and BLM.
This is a blatantly political overtaking of the school board and Ms. Grobey had the audacity to show that if her policy were applied fairly, it would exclude the symbols that all students identify with, making the landscape symbolic of the schools. from Newberg an austere envelope.
Timothy Delventhal lives in the countryside of Newberg
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