Parents In California Upset That Only The U.S. And State Flag Can Be Flown At Schools

Schools should be pushing for inclusivity and welcoming diversity, not banning a flag that symbolizes those things.

Parents upset over the schools decision to take down pride flag Montana1957, fauxels, morrismedia, Pgiam / Canva

On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, parents expressed their concerns over a controversial policy that the Temecula Valley Unified School District board in California voted to adopt in their schools.

The new policy centers around governing the display of flags on campuses within the district, and many parents feel as though it’s a roundabout way of attacking one specific flag that the board doesn’t want to see — the pride flag.


Temecula schools banned the flying of all flags except the U.S. and California state flags.

Without the superintendent’s approval, no flags aside from the U.S. and California flags may be flown. The sweeping ban on flags means that any flags that were already being flown, either outside of the school on campus grounds, in hallways, or inside classrooms, must be removed unless they abide by the policy.

However, the board claimed that they did not mean for the rule to target any specific flag, but parents were incensed nevertheless.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures in the year 2023 as of May 23, so parents have every right to feel like this is an attack on one specific flag.


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Some parents argued that they didn’t want to see the pride flag in their kids’ schools. “It makes me so upset, and that is the reason why I'm up here,” one woman said during the meeting. “That I have to go to my child's school and see a rainbow flag hung on a wall. We don't need to know what your personal sexual preference is.”

The pride flag is a symbol of inclusivity for all people in the LGBTQ+ community. It gives people a sense of belonging and community — it isn’t just about sexual preference.

With the number of nationwide educational initiatives all about promoting diversity and inclusivity, the pride flag should be no different. Representation and inclusivity are important for children.


As such, parents argued the opposite. “Taking down a pride flag is telling people they're not wanted,” one person said. “How un-American is that? You're telling them, ‘Go into the closet. Be quiet. We don't want to see you. We don't want to acknowledge you.’”

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The decision to ban the pride flag comes during National Suicide Prevention Week.

A student representative present at the Temecula Valley Unified School District noted that the decision to ban the flag came during National Suicide Prevention Week which started on Sunday, September 10, 2023, and ended on Saturday, September 16, 2023.


The Trevor Project reports that LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. They highlight the importance of intersectionality and having access to affirming spaces, adding, “Many LGBTQ youth lack access to affirming spaces, with only 55% of LGBTQ youth reporting that their school is LGBTQ-affirming and only 37% saying that their home is LGBTQ-affirming.”

This confirms research that continues to show that having access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces lowers the report of attempted suicides among LGBTQ youth.

The school board’s decision comes on top of another controversial ban on “critical race theory” from December 2022. During the meeting where they banned all flags without the superintendent’s approval, they voted to hire a nonprofit law firm to represent them in a lawsuit that challenged their ban on “critical race theory.”

The move made by the Temecula Valley Unified School District is a devastating blow to LGBTQ youth, and even youth from other vulnerable or minority groups. They’re being told that if who they are doesn’t align with their values, they’ll be thrown to the side.


If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or is in emotional distress, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.​

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.