Pride flags banned at school. So, a neighbour decided to pick up their paintbrush

rainbow pride flag

When a school board banned Pride flags a farmer decided to pick up a paintbrush and create a giant show of rainbow solidarity.

This week, the school board in the city of Newberg, Oregon, voted to ban Pride and BLM flags, signs and clothing, as well as any other items it considers “political”.

According to KGW8, at the virtual school board meeting on Tuesday (10 August), one Newberg parent told officials: “Black students and other kids of colour are under attack in Newberg schools.

“I know this to be true because my son was called [the n-word] at school.”

Despite calls from parents and staff at schools within the district for Pride and BLM items to allowed, arguing that they made minority students feel safer, the board voted four to three to enact the ban.

School board director and vice chair Brian Shannon, who believes Pride flags are “divisive”, even suggested that the board look at drafting “replacement language” for the districts anti-racism policy and repealing the Oregon Department of Education’s Every Student Belongs policy, which bans hate symbols including swastikas and the Confederate flag.

In response to the Pride flag and BLM ban, a farmer is taking things into their own hands

In response to the school board ban on Pride and BLM flags, a local farmer hatched a plan to show support to LGBT+ students and school staff.

They wrote on Reddit on Thursday (12 August): “I live in Newberg, on a farm that sits overlooking the town with a clear view to the high school.

“We decided yesterday to paint a Pride flag on the roof of our barn… Just waiting for it to not be 100 degrees and we can get started, hopefully on Sunday!”

The farmer received a huge amount of support and encouragement, and later said they had been contacted by so many people volunteering to help that “we’ve decided we can’t fit them all on the roof at once”.

So, as well as the giant Pride flag on the barn roof, they had decided to also put up huge “letters spelling ‘LOVE’ in rainbow stripes and we’re going to mount them on posts in our far pasture”, in full view of the highway.

They added that through donations, they had almost covered the costs of all the materials.

One commenter wrote: “Thank you so much for doing this. I grew up in Newberg… and have a lot of negative memories, but this helps some, believe it or not.

“I came out as a lesbian in 1992 and remember how careful I had to be even as an adult. I had hoped things had gotten better. It blows my mind that the school district is still this backwards, but you’re doing an amazing thing that will impact many people, young and old.”
She added: “I can smile thinking about you giving the school district the finger. This is actually somehow healing for me. Thank you!”

“In this time of so much hate, this is just beautiful,” said another.

“You and your family make the world a better place. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”