Parents threaten to sue their own children’s school for hanging a Pride flag in the cafeteria. Yes, really

LGBT+ Pride flags flutter in the breeze from a building

Residents and parents in a small town in Minnesota are threatening to sue a public middle school for simply hanging a Pride flag in its cafeteria.

Around 30 people waited their turn to speak at the Public Schools Board Meeting in Marshall, Minnesota, last week.

One retired pastor from the town stood up to voice his concerns about the flag, displayed at Marshall Middle School. He said of the piece of fabric: “That rainbow flag stands for and promotes an agenda in our culture. It promotes a systematic undermining of biblical morals and values.

“It seeks to silence all dissenting voices. It seeks to trump the rights of all other groups, especially people of faith.

“It seeks to normalise homosexuality, same-sex marriage and a transgender lifestyle. In my opinion that flag is dividing the family, the church, our community and our nation.”

The flag does not relate to any change in teaching or curriculum at the school, it is just displayed in the cafeteria.

Pride flag

The Pride flag in the Marshall Middle School cafeteria. (KARE 11/ YouTube)

One man compared teaching children not to be gay to teaching them not to jump off a cliff, and another said that 42 years old was “the lifespan of a homosexual”.

Around halfway through the meeting, Minneapolis-based attorney Bill Mohrman told the room that he would be representing a group of parents who would file a lawsuit against the school if it did not take down the flag and adopt a “neutral policy” on “viewpoints”.

While anti-LGBT+ parents and residents banded together, threatening the financial stability of own children’s school, they did not seem to be listening to the students themselves.

During the meeting, six children from the town’s middle and high schools children also spoke up. Of those six, five wanted to let their community know how important the flag was to them, with one girl even breaking down in tears discussing the struggles and discrimination that LGBT+ youth face. Just one spoke against displaying the flag.

Luckily some adults were aware of how important displaying the Pride flag could be for young LGBT+ people.

Dawnlynn Greeney, a deacon at St James Episcopal Church in the town, said: “Flags represent people, they represent heritage, they do not recruit. When we say that all students matter I believe we need to mean that all students matter.

“Yes, I am speaking as a clergy person but I am also speaking as a human being, and as a human being I have no more choice over being Norwegian than I would have over being LGBTQ+.

“If we decide that we cannot fly the LGBTQ flag in our community because it does not represent the priority of the schools or the community, then my question would be where do I find the list of the prioritisation of which students matter and which students don’t?”

According to the Marshall Independent, superintendent Scott Monson said he would need to consult the school district’s legal representation before commenting.