December 5, 2023


education gives you strength

Oregon Department of Education issues ban on hate symbols in public schools

The Oregon Department of Education issued a temporary ban on hate symbols — including the Confederate flag, swastikas and nooses — in public school classrooms in the state, officials said.

The “All Students Belong” rule was adopted unanimously by the state Board of Education on Thursday. Colt Gill, the director of the Department of Education, said the move came as a response to student calls for a ban.

“Our students called us out and into action,” Gill said in a statement. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and the All Students Belong rule is an important step in that process.”

The rule, which took effect immediately, requires school districts to implement policies by Jan. 1 that prohibit the hate symbols, except as part of the teaching curriculum. Officials said that many districts already had similar plans in the works and that the state would likely present a permanent rule in the coming months.

Several state lawmakers threw their support behind the measure, including Reps. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay), David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) and Cheri Helt (R-Bend), who currently serves on the Board of Education.

“The Confederate flag is a symbol of treason, racism and white supremacy. It has no place in Oregon,” Helt said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing forward legislation in the 2021 Legislative Session to ban these symbols of hatred and codify it into Oregon Law.”

— Kale Williams; [email protected]; 503-294-4048; @sfkale

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