The ink is still wet after the Carroll County Board of Education implemented a neutrality policy on political speech in the classrooms. The first major test of this policy came in the form of pride flags being displayed in classrooms by an initiative promoted by Carroll County Public Schools in coordination with PFLAG, and the Ash Strong Foundation. Carroll County, Maryland made national news for its hesitance to implement a political neutrality policy in January. Despite the initial hesitancy, Carroll County Maryland’s school board has a statewide reputation for leading the way in opening schools and unmasking children.
In January 2022, I had asked BOE member, Tara Bataglia, if pride flags would be covered by the neutrality policy, to which she said it would not. The pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978, at the behest of Harvey Milk a politician who liked to have sex with underaged boys. Evidently, in April 2022, the Carroll County Board of Education recognizes the problem with allowing pride flags to be displayed in classrooms at the behest of political organizations. The Board of Education oversees Carroll County Public Schools which have been accused by advocacy groups such as Concerned Parents of Carroll County and Mom’s For Liberty of demonstrating bias in accepting donations. Whereas, the donated pride flags were accepted by CCPS, reading material to be provided by Mom’s For Liberty were not. Concerned Parents and Mom’s For Liberty then coordinated to show up at the April 13th school board meeting. Over 100 people showed up with many having to wait outside the building. The crowd breakdown was almost even in support of displaying pride flags in classrooms. Over forty people requested to speak, of which only twenty were able to.
The result of the school board meeting was that the Board of Education set fourth the motion to develop a new “flag policy” in response to the issue. The board president Kenny Kiler spoke in support of creating a generic policy to respond to this issue. The board voted 4-1 to initiate this process.
The parents opposed to the pride flags in classrooms represented a current violation of the neutrality policy. State delegate candidate, Sallie Taylor, urged the school board to fix the problem using existing policy.
“Overall we’re pleased with the board’s decision to draft a flag policy. Racial and gender identity politics have no place in our schools. The focus needs to be academics. We also hope the board explores ways to strengthen the Political Neutrality policy. When this policy was being discussed, there were concerns on whether the policy had a strong enough accountability component and there was teacher’s union and legal pushback. It is obvious that we need to revisit this and ensure we deter future, widescale political activities,” Bryan Thomson of Concerned Parents told Evangelical Dark Web.
This issue comes at an interesting time, in that, four of the five board members running for office: two for reelection and two others for county commissioner.