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MCPS rules against complaint regarding Pride flags in classrooms

The Board of Trustees ruled against a complaint from a community member over Pride flags in classrooms
The history behind the ubiquitous Pride flag
Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 24, 2024

MISSOULA — The Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) Board of Trustees held a hearing and ultimately ruled against a complaint brought forward by a community member over Pride flags being displayed in Sentinel High School classrooms on Tuesday evening.

The person raising the complaint — Nate Kalkofen — argued pride flags promoted an ideology and asked the board of trustees to take action by removing flags from the school.

“Therefore I am asking for a policing action to be taken at all MCPS facilities and for all — all ideological or political flags, posters, etc..., regardless of meeting or group affiliation, to be removed from classrooms and hallways, Kalkofen said.

“Otherwise I’m asking for BP 2330 language rescinded thus bringing classrooms and hallways into compliance with current MCPS policy," Kalkofen continued.”

MCPS Superintendent Micah Hill addressed the room with the statement the District made regarding the display of the Pride flag.

“The statement used was we do not believe a Pride flag to be an ideological statement or position but we see it as a symbol of inclusion within our buildings,” Hill said. “That is another way of saying this is a safe place for everyone to belong.”

Following a discussion between the board members and Kalkofen, the public commented on the matter during the meeting.

Many of those who commented made statements about how being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is not a political statement and shared their anecdotes on why including a pride flag in the classroom makes them feel safe.

The final step in the complaint process for Kalkofen is to appeal this decision to Missoula County Superintendent of Schools Erin Lipkind.