PORTLAND, Ore. — The ACLU of Oregon sent a letter to the Newberg School District today, demanding the immediate retraction of a ban on displays of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Pride. The letter is in response to the Newberg School Board’s decision on August 10, 2021, which directed its policy committee to draft a policy that bans the displays and ordered the superintendent to remove displays of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Pride on school property.
The ACLU of Oregon Legal Director Kelly Simon said:
“As students, teachers, and staff return to school, they should feel welcomed and included - that they belong. That is exactly what Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Pride messages do. This is welcoming and inclusive speech. It is protected speech.
Schools are legally obligated to make sure that Black and LGBTQ+ students and staff are welcomed. State and federal law prohibit education providers from discriminating against students and employees based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Board’s action sends a message to students and staff that Black and LGBTQ+ students are not to be cared for or celebrated in the district, their safety and security needs will not be met, and that the district is a hostile environment for them.
We strongly encourage the Newberg School Board to immediately revisit and reverse their ban on displays of belonging and inclusion. If the Newberg School Board continues to violate the United States and Oregon constitutions, as well as other state and federal laws, we will see them in court.”
About ACLU Oregon:
The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the national ACLU which has affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization with more than 28,000 members statewide. The organization works in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities to defend and advance our civil liberties and civil rights under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions and the laws of the United States and Oregon.