- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - School officials in Lawrence, Kansas, are considering changing district policies to prohibit forms of discriminatory behavior after school administrators told a high school student earlier this year that he couldn’t display a Confederate flag on his vehicle while on school grounds.

The school board’s policy advisory committee has recommended potential changes to the school board, The Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/1V6NLiO ) reported.

The committee’s recommended additions would affect three district policies: discrimination and harassment; hazing and bullying; and prohibited activity. Those policies currently prohibit verbal, physical and written discrimination or harassment. The additions would expand those rules to include symbols and microagressions.

According to the revised discrimination and harassment policy, microagressions are defined as “subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at a minority or other non-dominant group that are often unintentional or unconsciously reinforce a stereotype.”

“I do think this change is important, but I think that it won’t be helpful if we don’t do a good job of helping prepare principals to be able to enforce it appropriately,” said Vanessa Sanburn, a board member.

District leaders said the new policy wouldn’t infringe on students’ freedom of expression.

The committee began considering policy changes after a student petition gathered hundreds of signatures in support of banning the flag. The petition was submitted to the board in March after a student at Free State High School flew a Confederate flag from a pickup truck he parked on school grounds.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the committee’s recommendations June 13 and vote on them June 27.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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