On Wednesday, February 14, House and Senate committees will take up a bill that would ban the display of most flags in public schools, particularly targeting flags that promote an “agenda,” such as Black Lives Matter flags or Pride flags.
SB 1722/HB 1605, as amended, bans all flags besides the U.S. flag, the Tennessee flag, and certain other exceptions like school flags and military flags. The bill also allows parents of students who attend a public school – and parents whose children do not attend a public school but who are eligible to attend – to sue schools for violating this legislation.
Tell lawmakers that the First Amendment protects free speech in schools.
The sponsor of this bill, Rep. Gino Bulso, has made it clear that his intent is to target LGBTQ+ expression.
Rainbow flags, pride flags, and other symbols celebrating LGBTQ+ pride are a protected form of free speech in school settings and the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that First Amendment protections extend to teachers and students.
This bill would create an unwelcoming and unsafe environment for students and teachers.