The Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California, allowed students to wear anti-gay stickers on their school ID badges in February, but recently changed its mind (video below).
The Desert Sands Unified School District administrators originally said in an email in February, “After consulting with district level personnel and our legal counsel, it was determined that these students do have the protected right to freedom of speech, just as students portraying rainbows in support of the LGBT would,” noted KCAL.
“If at any point students are interrupting class time to express their beliefs, they are to be sent to the discipline office with a referral for disruption,” the email added. “We all have a right to freedom of speech, but students also have a right to be educated without fear. This has always been our policy, and we will continue to enforce it.”
The controversial stickers feature a rainbow with a red line crossed through it. It's not clear where the students got the stickers, but the school district reversed course on Feb. 29, notes The Desert Sun.
School district Superintendent Gary Rutherford sent an email to school staff that said: "Recently some information has been brought forward that requires additional investigation and follow-up to determine a proper course of action. Pending further investigation, we are going to ask students who are displaying the symbol showing a rainbow pattern with a circle and a line, at least for now, to remove symbols while at school."
The school district didn't say exactly why it changed its mind or what would happen if the students kept wearing the anti-gay stickers.
Amy Oberman, a teacher, said that one of the stickers was placed on the window of a classroom used by the Gay Straight Alliance coordinator, and an unidentified student used the image on his Google Classroom profile picture.
Michelle Bachman, a senior at the school, told The Desert Sun via Twitter: "This group of students was publicly displaying an intolerance and hate for the LGBT community when a large portion of our students at SHHS are part of the community or close to people a part of it as well. This is definitely hate speech, but legally, we can't do anything until these students start to physically harass us, which I believe is an injustice."