Parents, students and teachers address pride flag debate in Logan School District

Jay Bates Domenech shares their experience as a queer student in LHS to the school board during tuesday's meeting

LOGAN—Parents, students and teachers continued to voice their concerns over whether or not LGTBQ pride flags should be displayed in classrooms during the Logan City School District Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

The public comment section of the meeting was opened by Andrea Norton, a parent of a queer student at Logan High School who said her child has been bullied since elementary school for being who they are.

Norton said the symbols found on the doors of classrooms are a small but effective way of showing students they are valued and appreciated.

The pride flag isn’t about trying to corrupt anyone or turn them to the dark side,” Norton said. “The pride flag is about making sure everyone feels accepted, appreciated and valued no matter who they are.”

Norton concluded asking the board to be careful with the message it sends to the students since mental health has been directly correlated to a student’s performance in school.

“When schools do things like making a concerted effort to ban the pride flag, it sends a message that our school doesn’t care about them and that they don’t really matter,” Norton said. “When they see a pride flag, they feel included, accepted, valued and safe.”

Katie Lee-Koven, an LHS parent, said she wanted to address the board in the previous meeting but instead went home and prepared a petition which she presented to the board with 258 signatures of members of the community who are in support of the symbols being in schools.

Lee-Koven said having symbols on kindergarten doors was not too early since kids in the LGBTQ community are in Hillcrest Elementary as well as kindergarten.

“Hillcrest represents inclusion and have worked really hard to make it such,” Lee-Koven said. “Furthermore, Logan School District has a reputation of being more inclusive than the surrounding school district. Isn’t that what we want?”

Lee-Koven asked the school board to not ask teachers to move their signs to their personal desk because students might not be able to see the symbol and would not know where the safe space is.

She said she wanted to show the board that there were many people who care about safe spaces for students and asked that the school board didn’t create policies because of one or two people but instead took this opportunity to educate the few people in opposition.

“Parents are not always right; me included,” Lee-Koven said. “Should you hear us out? Yes. Do you need to implement changes every time a parent contacts you? No.”

Connie Morgan addresses the LCSD School Board about the safe space symbols.

Lee-Koven suggested the school board create a committee of teachers and parents to discuss and present recommendations to the school board for issues such as this.

“Let them discuss this. Let them make some recommendations to you,” Lee-Koven said. “You have a teacher staffing shortage and rising teen suicide rates. Since teachers in today’s world have a lot of oversight and they maybe the person a suicidal teen comes to.”

LHS Senior Jay Bates Domenech shared their experience as a queer individual at the school describing how they were followed one day in a secluded hallway while being called homophobic slurs.

Every day at school there are multiple times I am scared to be who I am,” Domenech said. “I am scared to be queer.”

Domenech told Cache Valley Daily that they believe the meaning of safe spaces has changed over the years and is seen as something different than what it is at its core which is “a space where students can feel safe.”

“It’s a scary world out there for queer students and having any spot that you can go to and you know nothing bad is going to happen to you there is not only good but necessary for survival,” Domenech said.

Andrea Sinfield who was representing a group of Adams and Hillcrest elementary school moms asked the board to ensure the elementary school focus on the curriculum and not on the movement the was co-opted by people pushing agendas and confusing children.

Sinfield said that any organization that promotes secrecy from parents is a red flag.

“When I see teachers…bragging online about hiding students’ preferred pronouns from parents or some schools not needing parent’s permission to give hormone blockers or gender affirming care given to minors without the policy holder’s notice, those are red flags,” Sinfield said.

Sinfield said every teacher should be seen as a safe space whether or not they have the symbol.

“Do not get trapped into thinking the only way to create a safe space in schools is by advertising symbols involving social groups,” Sinfield said. “Safe spaces provide healthy positive interpersonal connections, not printed signs hanging on the door.”

Former educator and member of the LCSD Board Connie Morgan said she worked at a school that had one of the first Gay Straight Alliance clubs and said that none of the dreadful things people thought would happen, happened.

“What did happen there was friendship, unity, not isolation and not suicide,” Morgan said. “What happened was service projects together and understanding.”

Morgan said that even though she had a sign in the front of her room that said, “You are unique. You have value, worth and dignity and no one can take it away from you,” she said she always had to tell her students that some people would try to take it away.

She asked the board if the safety of students was more important than the comfort of adults.

Why would we risk student lives for adult comfort?” Morgan asked. “If you are sitting on the fence, why would you not fall over on the side of school, of students?”

Domenech said students need to be supported and need to know their teachers and loved ones respect them including their pronouns which Domenech said only about 10 percent of people respect their pronouns.

“Queer students are students,” Domenech said. “we’re not pushing any agenda for wanting our teachers to support us.”

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  • John October 2, 2022 at 11:16 pm Reply

    Not unless every other group can display their flags. No special treatment for any group or it opens a can of worms. I’m straight and I don’t need to celebrate my sexuality and have a parade. Their flag is a recruiting tool, nothing more…

    • Sarah Picket October 3, 2022 at 10:41 am Reply

      Did you choose your sexual orientation, John? Were you recruited into being straight?

  • oneamerican October 3, 2022 at 3:04 am Reply

    I agree with what Domenech says here at the end ” Queer Students are Students” I would also say ” All Students are Students” and leave it at that.
    pander to one groups flag or sign just opens up pandora’s box and it’s bad enough to have educators not be educating and students not learning. Were all Americans with the exception of some foreign students and that in my IMHO is good enough for bringing unity and respecting each others pronouns. there are many rules in school and out of school to handle those who cannot respect or incite hate of others.

    • JO October 3, 2022 at 11:25 am Reply

      No doubt that “all students are students”, but not all students experience school in the way. There is a lot of hated directed toward LGTBQ+ people, they see it everyday. As quoted in this article, there are many queer students who live in fear. They are teens who, like all teens, are trying to understand their personal identities. The difference being that they cannot talk about this with peers or even other adults, without fear that their comments will be met with anger, ignorance or intollerance. The result is that queer students have a sucide rate 4X greater than their peers, strictly identifying as a “student” is clearly not enough. Safe spaces are important and have been documented to improve mental health and save lives.

      With respect to a “Pandora’s Box”, what are we really worried about? If any group of students feel threatened for who that are as opposed to what they do, they absolutely should know that they have a safe space too. This is not a problem currently, it can be addressed if it becomes an issue.

  • KA October 3, 2022 at 7:09 am Reply

    With all the pearl clutching from parents worried about their little snowflakes, has anyone thought to actually ask the kids what they think?

    • Delphine October 4, 2022 at 12:52 am Reply

      The flag is here to stay and So are we. Let’s be honest this fight isn’t about a flag, it’S about us humans who make you uncomfortable. This is not our problem, and de-humanizing us by making it about a flag is so low. Any Lgbt youth are more likely to un – alive themselves because of under sighted moves like these I know you don’t care . Most likely stating things like “Well it’s not My kid !” but you say all these things not knowing if in fact YOUR kid could be LGBT and hiding it because right now they can’t trust you . Loving your children unconditionally means just that without conditions. The flag not being at your kids school will not teach them anything about LGBT except how not to be a hateful bigot. Love is love. You don’t have to like it but we aren’t going anywhere so at least be sensible and logical. And no a rain bow being drawn in a straight lines across the page doesn’t hurt your daughter sir get a godd*/ed hobby.

      • Delphine October 4, 2022 at 12:55 am Reply

        This was meant as a general reply

  • HeyTeachersLeaveThoseKidsAlone October 3, 2022 at 10:59 am Reply

    Since when do children (elementary aged especially) have any idea what their sexual preference is? This gender indoctrination of our children is destructive and has no place in school curriculum.

  • Kramer October 3, 2022 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Logan school district is a joke. ..and its getting funnier. Yank your kids from any school pushing this agenda.

  • Kramer October 3, 2022 at 12:08 pm Reply

    Lol if you think your kindergarten aged child is gay, youre the problem.

  • Ttunac October 3, 2022 at 4:28 pm Reply

    Well, they’ve at least sexualized the rainbow.
    I feel sorry for girls who like rainbows but can’t wear a rainbow shirt now without getting a high five from some dude named Angie.

  • Joshua Molitor October 3, 2022 at 10:48 pm Reply

    As long as there are students that harrass and bully other students over sexual attractions, identity or sny other reason, then a symbol of acceptance should be aloud. This shouldnt be a debate, what the hell is wrong with people?!?!

    I cant believe parents still dont teach their spawn to be polite, have manners and respect all others no natter what. Children that descriminate against human characteristics, are a product of s**t parenting!

    If parents get upset about a rainbow flag? All i have to say to them is “get over it snow flake!”

  • Anonymous October 4, 2022 at 6:16 am Reply

    I don’t know what it’s like to be oppressed in this community, because fortunate for me, I am part of the majority. I’m disgusted that members of our community are not going to stand up for our LGBTQ community members.
    Also, teachers aren’t pushing an agenda. They don’t medicate children. They serve our community faithfully, even when an entire community goes into an uproar because a few are trying to be inclusive to ALL students. That’s what this community does. It finds something it has a problem with and then it finds a group of people to blame it on.
    It wouldn’t occur, that perhaps we could be kind to a group that feels scared, hopeless, and needs a safe space.
    Maybe you don’t know what it’s like to be a member of the LGBTQ community, but the fact that we have weeks of debate about a safe space sign are an indication of what these members of our community are feeling and how they’re being treated every single day.

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