‘Heartbreaking’ bully destroying school Pride flag to cheers prompts defiant response from students

Side-by-side of photographs of a student at Ridgeline High School cutting down an LGBT+ flag

Students and alumni gathered with Pride flags after a “heartbreaking” incident that saw a student cut down a Progress Pride banner to cheers.

In the airy halls of Ridgeline High School in Cache County, Utah, a student was caught on video tearing a Progress Pride flag that hung along a stairwell on Tuesday (13 April).

It had been placed by officials to celebrate the school’s Gay Straight Alliance during diversity week, alongside flags from various countries.

But it came tumbling down when a pupil cut it with a pair of scissors as dozens watched, egging him on and cheering.

School leaders and district officials have denounced the student, with another condoning “the insensitive and disrespectful removal of the flag”, 2KUTV reported.

“I’m sure that there was people walking in to come to that event who had to witness that happening and did not feel safe in our school,” Syd Seeholzer, a senior and member of the LGBT+ community, told the outlet.

Seeholzer said many of her friends have felt hesitant to show up to school since the incident, while Karissa Eames stressed there’s now a “different energy” in the school.

“You could definitely feel the separation,” Eames added.

On Wednesday (14 April), more than a dozen students marched outside Ridgeline High School. Holding up LGBT+ Pride flags which swept over the dull grey sky, the students were even joined by recent LGBT+ graduates.

As alum Holden Matthews told 2KUTV: “I think it’ll send a really positive message.

“If I could have seen this when I was in high school, it would have meant a lot.”

The Cache County School District wrote in a statement to the press: “The Cache County School District is aware of an incident at Ridgeline High School which occurred at the end of the day on 13 April, when a Pride flag was hung over the top of a country flag during a GSA event in the student commons.

“This flag was subsequently cut down by a student who was not part of the event.

“Neither the school nor the school district condones the insensitive and disrespectful removal of the flag, which was done without permission.

“This type of incident reminds us of the importance of continually educating students, not just during a Diversity Week, on the importance of respecting one another and the right to attend school, participate in events, and learn in a safe and respectful school environment,” the statement added.