Following the Fowlerville Board of Education’s vote earlier this month to implement a policy that would effectively ban any displays that are not “content neutral,” demonstrators plan to gather peacefully at Fowlerville High School (700 N. Grand St.) from 6 – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1st.
The group known as Stand Against Extremism LivCo issued a press release Monday that says policies in both Fowlerville and Hathland that provide marginalized students equal access to school spaces and activities are under attack.
“In Livingston County the school boards with extremist majorities are coming for bans on trans kids using restrooms that match their identity, bans on gender youth playing on sports teams, banning Pride flags and other supportive symbols like “safe space” stickers, attacking the use of accurate pronouns for gender youth, etc. We will be a presence of acceptance to counter the efforts to deny the existence of our LGBTQ+ youth,” read the statement.
In Fowlerville, the policy change only allows displays that promote athletics, post-secondary education or opportunities (such as universities or the military), or are part of a temporary unit of study. It was enacted despite overwhelming public opposition at two meetings, and despite there being no evidence there were problems or complaints that it was needed.
While the Board disagreed over what factors incited the proposal, comments from both the board and the public made it clear that Pride flags, stickers, and displays supporting LGBTQ+ students were at the center of the debate.
A similar policy change was made by the Hartland Consolidated Schools Board of Education in June that restricts the content of classroom displays. As in Fowlerville, many parents in the district were convinced the proposal is a direct attack on Safe Space stickers and other similar materials that are present in some Hartland classrooms letting students in marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ+ community know that they are welcome and safe in that environment.
Organizers say Tuesday’s ‘Allies for Acceptance’ demonstration will be a family friendly event filled with “bubbles, music, and fun as we network and discuss ideas on long term goals to help keep our public schools in Livingston County inclusive and accepting of all.”