Champlain Valley School District passes flag display policy

Staff Writer

The Champlain Valley School District board passed a flag display policy at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, a policy that pertains only to Champlain Valley Union High School.

After a discussion, the originally proposed policy was amended to lessen the impact of excluding the other schools in the district.

The original policy read: “Requests to display flags at Charlotte Central School, Shelburne Community School, Hinesburg Community School, Williston Central School and/or Allen Brook School shall not be considered.”

“We heard from administrators that they would prefer to implement the policy at the high school level,” said Colleen MacKinnon, a board member who is part of the policy committee.

Board member Josilyn Adams said she appreciated all of the work that had gone into creating the policy and that the administrators were canvassed for their opinions, but she “had really struggled” with the issue. Visiting the k-8 schools, she said she has seen how the students are delving into issues about diversity and racial inequality.

“I don’t understand why we would not be giving voice to those kiddos,” Adams said. “I really feel like we would be doing a disservice and would not be meeting our mission of supporting and fostering critical thinkers and citizens who are going to go into the rest of the world. I don’t really see what changes from a kiddo who’s in the eighth grade in May and then they go in September and then they’re a freshman.”

Superintendent Elaine Pinckney said she had talked to each of the administrators individually. “What I heard over and over again is at the high school there’s one principal who’s making this decision and at the k-8 there are many principals.”

There was a good bit of discussion on both sides of the issue and a motion by board member Ray Mainer that failed to “call the issue,” so discussion would end and the board could  vote. Finally, there was a second successful motion to call the issue by McKinnon. The amended flag display policy passed 6-3 with Adams, Angela Arsenault and Erin Brady opposed. Board chair Lynne Jaunich did not vote.

The final version of the flag policy reads: “Requests to display flags shall apply to the CVU campus only.”

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