A countywide directive ordering Monongalia County schools to remove Pride flags and Black Lives Matter flags from classrooms is “demonstrably unlawful” and should be reversed immediately, according to an ACLU-WV legal analysis.
ACLU-WV Staff Attorney Nick Ward wrote to Superintendent Eddie Campbell this week to share the analysis and urge school officials to reconsider the directive.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that First Amendment protections extend to ‘teachers and students,’ neither of whom “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,’” the letter states. “This bedrock principle of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence ensures schools do not become grounds for authoritarian control over the future of our democracy.”
The letter also points out that instructing faculty to remove these specific displays sends a message to students who belong to marginalized communities that they are not to be cared for or protected.
“That message is likely to create a hostile environment for students in Monongalia County and throughout West Virginia,” the letter states.
Read the full letter below.