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Stoughton High School faculty told not to display items in classroom deemed ‘political’

Stoughton High School.Stoughton Public Schools

Stoughton High School teachers and staff have been prohibited from displaying any items that may be considered political in classrooms, according to a school faculty member.

The Stoughton High faculty member, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Globe that school and district leaders verbally delivered the directive during a faculty meeting Wednesday afternoon. The items they were told not to display include Black Lives Matters, the law enforcement-associated Thin Blue Line, and Pride flags.

“Pride flags help LGBTQIA+ students feel safe and welcomed in school. Taking down Pride flags could hurt students’ well-being and make them feel like they have nowhere to run,” the faculty member said. “Having a rainbow or BLM flag in our rooms isn’t pushing your beliefs on someone or displaying any political views. It is just saying, ‘Hey, you’re welcome here, and we support you.’”

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Following concerns, Stoughton High Administrative Principal Juliette Miller on Thursday afternoon sent an e-mail to faculty to clarify the desire to keep the school and classrooms a safe space for all members of the community.

“As such, we need to avoid placing items in the classroom that can cause disruption or distraction,” Miller said in the e-mail. “We are an inclusive environment and want to maintain that inclusivity.”

Miller also told teachers and staff in the e-mail that the district office recently ordered LGBTQIA+ ally stickers for all classroom doorways that will be distributed “as soon as they are in.”

The Stoughton faculty member added they were also told not to “say the words DEI: Diversity, Equity Inclusion” because it is “politically charged.” But district Superintendent Thomas Raab said in an e-mail to the Globe that there was no directive to prohibit school faculty from discussing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“We simply wanted them to be aware of the sensitivity of these topics,” he said.

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Adria Watson can be reached at adria.watson@globe.com. Follow her @adriarwatson.