School in Pence’s D.C. neighborhood removes Pride flag because it’s ‘political’

Bil Browning

To borrow a line from the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, the principal at the Washington, D.C. elementary school named for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman has said no to this: the rainbow flag that is the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride and its civil rights movement.

What makes this especially newsworthy is that Lafayette Elementary School is about to get a new neighbor: Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Principal Carrie Broquard said the school received the flag as a “gift from the neighborhood” and did display it, but on Monday she sent a note to parents explaining she’d decided to take it down, reported Washingtonian magazine.

“Given the current political landscape, our commitment is to remain neutral,” she wrote. “In order to avoid any unwanted attention or to have any symbols misinterpreted as a political action, the flag has been removed.”

The decision follows international news coverage of Pence’s new neighbors hanging Pride flags from their homes to send a signal to the incoming vice president, who has been an outspoken proponent of “religious freedom” laws that seek to marginalize the rights of same-sex couples and LGBTQ Americans.

Here’s her full note:

“Dear Lafayette Families –
“You may have noticed that over the weekend a rainbow flag was hung from the Lafayette sign as a gift from the neighborhood. As a public school, we welcome all students and families of all identities. We at Lafayette pride ourselves on our diversity and our inclusivity, including but not limited to LGBQT families.

“While Lafayette and DCPS are committed to diversity and inclusivity, we also need to be mindful of wading into political waters. Given the current political landscape, our commitment is to remain neutral. In order to avoid any unwanted attention or to have any symbols misinterpreted as a political action, the flag has been removed.  However, our commitment to inclusivity remain strong. The following are ways that we are celebrating over the next week:

“‘We Are Lafayette’ lunch assemblies hosted by myself and the student council. We will celebrate the many languages, nations, and cultures that are represented here at Lafayette.

“’We Are Lafayette’ poster that was sent home last week. Families are encouraged to create a drawing that represents what makes you such a special contribution to our Lafayette family. We will compile all the posters and create a visual display representing all of us – ‘We Are Lafayette.’

“Daily messages of inclusion, kindness, and understanding through our Peace Class and Peace Club.”

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