Vermont bill would ban Black Lives Matter flag from being flown on school grounds

Joelyn Mensah raising the Black Lives Matter flag at Montpelier High School

Sick and tired of school board members spending “hours upon hours” debating whether to fly the Black Lives Matter flag at Vermont schools, members of the Vermont legislature have a bill pending that would make the American and Vermont state flags the only legal banners to wave on school grounds, Seven Days Vermont is reporting.

Eight House Republicans are backing H.92, which aims to keep school boards focused on educating and less on “political agendas” such as Black Lives Matter, said sponsor Rep. Brian Smith (R-Derby).

Smith proposed a similar bill last year.

“Everybody, whether you’re Black or gay or Hispanic or white, we’re all Americans,” Smith said in an interview. “We all live under one red, white and blue flag.”

Vermont’s Montpelier High School became the first school in the nation to raise the BLM flag after a student-led effort in 2018. Students at some other Vermont schools followed suit, including some spurred on by last summer’s media frenzy over race and policing, and some towns also raised it, with at least one soon replacing it with a flag supporting police.

Smith said his bill would simplify things by restricting the number of allowable flags on school grounds to two. He stressed that his bill does not single out Black Lives Matter. P.O.W. flags, for example, would also be prohibited, he said, though he did not know of any schools being requested to fly those.

He argued that raising any flag beyond the U.S. and Vermont ones opens the door to all types of requests and keep school boards mired in debate.

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