MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – Students and community members participated in a walkout at Morgantown High School on Wednesday after the Monongalia County Board of Education reinforced a policy that says pride flags are not allowed in classrooms throughout the county. A protest was also held at the Board of Education on Tuesday regarding the policy.

Policy 3231.01 is stated as the reason that pride flags aren’t allowed in classrooms. The policy states:

“Non-school related activities, including political activities, do not contribute to a positive learning climate and may be disruptive, divisive and distracting. Therefore, such activities are not appropriate within the school setting. It is the intention of the board of education to regulate such activities on all board owned or used property, within all school buildings and all school sponsored activities.”

 MONONGALIA COUNTY SCHOOLS’ POLICY 3231.01

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Mon. Co. Superintendent Eddie Campbell spoke on the matter.

“The interpretation that was provided us was, those flags could be, could be viewed as literature. Any flag that is hung up in the classroom doesn’t have to be a piece of paper or a trifold that is handed out as it would be a political candidate,” Campbell said. “If you look at some of the definitions they talk about things that can be coercive or disruptive, forces that do not contribute to the learning process. And then specifically, when you go down through the A through E many of the references that are made there use the language, and I want to make sure I get it right for the folks that are here. If you look at B after where it says, ‘or more candidates’ it then uses the words ‘issues or a particular point of view’ and that is mentioned several times in here.”

West Virginia Delegate Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia) attended the walkout and doesn’t believe the flag should fall under that policy.

“I’m here to make sure that we are educate folks that this pride flag is not an ideology. It is not political,” Walker said. “It is how these children know, how these students know, how these current leaders know that they are in a safe space.”

Some students feel as if the flag represents the school as a safe place.

“Yeah, I feel the same way because a lot of people come to school feeling like they’re out of place or people aren’t going to accept them,” Morgantown junior Darren Ross Thomas said. “It’s good when they can see something that you know, kind of makes them feel like they’re a part of the community and they’re not being shunned or pushed away.”

Morgantown High pride flag policy walkout (WBOY image)

“You should definitely embrace who you are and not let anyone change who you are,” Morgantown student Kyla Carter said. “It’s very important to let people know who you really are and to not be ashamed of that.”

It’s more than a flag to some people.

“It means everything to me,” Junior Olivia Krech said. “I resonate a lot with it. I’ve been bullied most of my life. My parents are very kind to me, but their family does not agree with me so I have to pretend to be someone I’m not around them and it hurts. So, when I just see these (pride flags) it just makes me really happy.”

WBOY poll shows that 12 News viewers are split on the issue; 49.4% believe that pride flags should not be included in the policy, 44.7% believe that it should, and 5.9% said they could see it either way. Those results show 622 entries as of 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.