OK. I’m going to be the odd man out.
Do the people insisting on the display of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ Pride messages in Newberg, Oregon schools honestly believe those are non-political non-controversial messages?
Does the teachers’ union, the Newberg Education Association, really believe that the display of such messages on school campuses is essential “to create safe learning environments for our students”?
Do Newberg students all agree that the Newberg School Board, in banning the display of images “relating to a political, quasi-political, or controversial topic,” is demonstrating that is has no empathy?
Or are the parents, students and union representatives simply embracing progressive messaging in Newberg schools and cloaking their advocacy in claims of free speech rights, while the Board is trying to keep their schools neutral in today’s toxic political environment?
I ask these questions because I doubt the critics of the ban would be so outspoken if the debate was over the display of conservative-leaning messages.
Would they support a poster in the Newberg High School lobby with National Right-to-Life’s message, “Promote respect for the worth and dignity of every individual human being, born or unborn”?
How about a “thin blue line” flag endorsed by the Blue Lives Matter movement hanging prominently in the school gym?
Would they support a massive pro-death penalty banner such as “Keep capital punishment safe and legal” in every classroom?
Citing a lawsuit filed by the Newberg Education Association calling for the Yamhill County circuit court to block the Newberg School District from enforcing its new policy, union president Jennifer Schneider said the lawsuit “… is just one more step to guarantee that the personal politics and prejudices of the new School Board majority aren’t able to enter our classrooms…”
How about preventing the personal politics and prejudices of the ban’s critics from entering Newberg’s classrooms?
Making the whole controversy worse, Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D- Lake Oswego) is using it as an excuse to stir the pot by introducing two bills for the 2022 legislative session: One would require all school boards to receive a biannual audit and implement strategies around equity training. The other bill would prohibit school boards from terminating superintendents who implement state-mandated best practices that relate to diversity, inclusion and public health practices.
Just what we need, more political grandstanding and micromanagement of Oregon’s public schools.