Florida teacher told to remove Black Lives Matter flag from classroom

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This screenshot shows a Nov. 7, 2020 Facebook post by Amy Donofrio, a teacher at Robert E. Lee High School. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

A Florida public school teacher told a local news outlet that she was told by school administrators to remove a “Black Lives Matter” flag from her classroom on March 23.

Amy Donofrio teaches at Robert E. Lee High School, and was interviewed the previous day by News4Jax, a local television news station. The story focused on a compilation of video clips recorded at Lee High School’s auditorium during public discussions on whether or not to rename the school.

One of the men featured in the viral compilation, 1984 Lee High alumnus Joey Stevens, posted screenshots of Donofrio’s Facebook page and called on followers to contact the school about her. The screenshots apparently featured the BLM flag.

“I just think that that goes against anything that should happen in school. Teachers should not be promoting organizations, whether it’s political or social injustice type organizations, and trying to influence their students,” Stevens said.

Hours after the exchange, Donofrio said school principal Timothy Feagins told her to take the flag down by the end of the day or the school custodians will do it.

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Donofrio told News4Jax she would not comply, but according to her the sign was taken down by administrators shortly before 9 p.m.

The teacher said she was also approached in November about the sign, but said the issue was dropped after she claimed that the flag did not violate any school or district policy.

According to Duval County School Board policy, “No employee shall use his/her position in any way to influence or attempt to influence students to support or oppose any candidate, party or issue. Such prohibition shall include, but not be limited to, any form of advocacy or opposition in a classroom or school setting or other school-related student-teacher relationship.”

A memo from Dec. 15 goes so far as to ban employees from backing social movements or causes including flags, banners or signs on district property. The memo came after a “Thin Blue Line” flag caused controversy at a Neptune Beach school, prompting leaders to ban it from the football field.

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