Temecula Board OKs Policy Banning Pride Flags From Schools

Only U.S., California flags allowed unless a banner is used “solely for educational purposes”

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The Temecula school board approved a policy to limit which flags can be flown on school property, a rule that some said is a way to ban pride flags, at its Tuesday night, Sept. 12, meeting.

similar policy was adopted by the Chino Valley Unified School District board in June.

The item passed 3-2, with the board’s conservative majority in favor and trustees Allison Barclay and Steven Schwartz voting no.

Tuesday’s Temecula Valley Unified School District board meeting drew a crowd similar in size to the one several weeks ago, when the board adopted a policy to inform parents if their child is transgender.

The proposal, which was adopted with some small language changes, contains two alterations to the district’s flag protocols.

The first is an addition to Pledge of Allegiance guidelines, which states that students not reciting the pledge “shall maintain a respectful silence.”

The second reads: “No flag other than the United States of America and State of California may be displayed on school grounds, including classrooms, unless it is a country, state, or United States military flag used solely for educational purposes within the adopted curriculum.”

Other flags would need the superintendent’s approval.

The document does not specify which flags are barred.

“It is not the intent of the Board of Education to deprive any person of his or her right to freedom of expression,” the agenda item states. “The intent of this regulation is to maintain a safe and orderly workplace for teachers, students, administrators, staff, parents/guardians and other members of the community.”

More than 100 people waited outside before the meeting’s open session. Some had American flags on their clothing. A few wore Donald Trump merchandise. Others sported pride flags.

Jennifer San Nicolas, a Temecula resident with two teenagers in Temecula Valley schools, said she’s concerned about board decisions she said remove diversity, equity and inclusion programs and cited December’s critical race theory ban — approved at the first meeting of the board’s conservative Christian bloc elected by voters — as an example.

“It’s just unreal, they way that they are chipping away at the humanity of kids of color, kids on the LGBTQ spectrum, anyone who isn’t their White evangelical, in their church — they other them.”

Murrieta resident Jen Reeves called the flag policy “worrisome.”

“I feel like it removes self-expression, and any sort of ability for teachers to say, ‘Hey, you’re welcome here, and we do support you, and we love you, and we want you here’,” Reeves said.

She said she believes the Temecula school board is following the agenda of other boards that have passed similar policies.

Ryan Waroff, who lives in the school district, said he supports the proposed flag policy.

Any flag can create a sense of division, Waroff said, “and I think that’s a problem we have in this country right now.”

In response to concerns about a ban on pride flags obscuring people’s identities, he said, “if you walk into a place and it takes a flag for you to feel comfortable about yourself, then we have a bigger problem than that.”

Waroff said people should be able to express their identities in any way they feel necessary, and maybe at one point, such flags were a good idea, but they’ve become politicized.

“And it is both sides,” he said. “It is a Trump flag. It is a pride flag. It is a BLM flag.”

“This isn’t anti-LGBTQ, this isn’t anti-trans,” he said. “We live in America, and in America, we’re allowed to be whatever we want, but let’s unite under the one unifying goal, that’s ‘We’re all Americans.’ I would like to see us come back to that.”

Daniel Molina spoke in favor of the policy, saying that “there is no pride flag” without also standing for the American flag.

Josh Schierling asked: “How delicate is your sense of democracy that it’s threatened by a pride flag?”

Schierling said everyone should be allowed to coexist, and that “taking down a pride flag is telling people they’re not wanted. How un-American is that?”

Board members discussed reasons for the policy, and potential pitfalls, including the definition of the word “flag.”

Danny Gonzalez said he thought the administration needed more time to work on the policy, and saw it “being potentially problematic” if not done the right way.

Schwartz said the “good intentions” behind the policy would open the district up to problems. He read aloud concerns of people who wrote to him, including that the policy “is an attempt to censor LGBTQ support” and that, according to the policy, flags for entities like colleges wouldn’t be allowed.

Barclay agreed that “a lot of things aren’t clear.”

She said that, if there’s a certain flag in question, “let’s just say it.”

Barclay said such policies make people nervous.

“They don’t want to break the rules, but they don’t understand the rules,” she said.

Board President Joseph Komrosky said that a school visit during which there were “at least 10 classrooms” that had no American flags showed him that the district needed the regulation. He  said he wants to “instruct the superintendent to add U.S. flags to every single classroom.”

Regarding flags for colleges and school sports teams, board members discussed whether they counted as “educational,” and whether, according to the policy, the superintendent would need to approve each one. Komrosky said that would be the case.

The meeting featured outbursts, applause and other interruptions from audience members. At least one person was removed, and some reacted to comments by holding up red, yellow and green cards, which Komrosky has done at previous meetings to convey warnings to audience members. At different points, both Schwartz and Komrosky asked for spectators’ cooperation.

“This would go a lot easier with no audience in here,” Komrosky said.

Other politically charged topics have been reviewed by the Temecula Valley school board in the past year.

After December’s critical race theory ban, a social studies curriculum was rejected by the board after some members cited its mention of slain gay-rights activist Harvey Milk in supplemental materials. After pushback from Gov. Gavin Newsom and others, the curriculum was approved in July — except for the unit mentioning Milk.

Last month, the board approved the transgender notification policy that some opposed because they felt it puts transgender students at risk by outing them. Such a policy also was previously approved by the Chino Valley school board.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise


  1. Finally drawing the line on a overblown Political Action Committee called trans.

    Good for them.

  2. Yes, good for Temecula!

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