In the latest skirmish over LGBTQ pride flags in public schools, two boys at Paso Robles High School in California posted a TikTok video of themselves defecating on a science teacher’s classroom banner and then trying to flush it down the toilet.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported Oct. 8 that science teacher Evan Holtz chased the boys down the hall, shouting at them after they suddenly appeared to rip the 3-foot-by-5-foot rainbow flag off his wall at the end of a class in mid-September.
When a video surfaced on TikTok of the boys defecating on the flag and attempting to flush it, their fellow students alerted school and district administrators, who took “disciplinary action” against the boys and had the video removed.
“It was definitely an act of hate directed at the LGBTQ community,” Geoffrey Land, a social sciences teacher, told the Tribune. “And a lot of students felt it, you know, felt that attack very acutely.”
According to the newspaper, most students didn’t know about the incident until the superintendent of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District sent an Oct. 1 memo to teachers, asking them to remove any flags larger than 2-feet-by-2-feet and all “alterations of the American flag” from their classrooms as part of a new policy to de-politicize classrooms.
“We don’t want to turn it into a politicized issue where a student enters a classroom and looks up, ‘Oh, there’s a rainbow flag here, or there’s a Blue Lives Matter flag here — that determines what the partisanship is of my teacher.’ We think that that’s a real slippery slope,” Superintendent Curt Dubost told The Tribune in a later interview. “And so we continue to believe that this is a very reasonable compromise solution that allows rainbows, but within reason.”
The incident comes as public school districts nationwide, sometimes driven by parental complaints, have increasingly banned pride flags as “political speech” that provokes some of their students.
In an Oct. 7 article for The 19th News website, Orion Rummler reported that school districts in Utah, Oregon, Missouri, Florida and Indiana have implemented bans on pride flags since the current school year started