The Natick School Committee at its Tuesday, June 20 meeting could vote to approve a proclamation that includes flying the Progress Pride Flag outside of all school-owned buildings year-round.
Doing so, per the proclamation, would signify that Natick Public Schools “affirms, supports, and values the gender identities and gender expressions of all students and staff and will continue to further efforts in our schools to create a welcoming safe, and inclusive learning environment for our transgender and all LGBTQ+ students.”
The draft proclamation (embedded below) is titled “Proclamation in Support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ+) Students and Staff.” The Progress Pride Flag is an evolution of the traditional Pride Flag that includes colors recognizing marginalized communities and transgender people.
The flag proposal was discussed at a public School Committee Policy Subcommittee meeting on June 8, and the topic has been raised in other forums throughout the year, according Natick School Committee member Matt Brand.
“We discussed this as a potential policy change but ultimately decided that it was more appropriate to be presented and debated by the full committee not as a policy change but rather as a proclamation,” said Brand, citing the advice of legal counsel.
“I don’t want to deliberate or wade into my own opinion or represent other members’ opinions before we’ve all had a chance to review the materials and discuss it publicly. The policy subcommittee felt that what we were talking about is a potential value of the School Committee rather than a policy and procedure that the district should enact and that is why we decided to consider it in the proposed form,” Brand said.
Progress Pride Flags could be up by the end of the month if the School Committee votes to support the proclamation. Nearby, Framingham Public Schools began flying the flag in 2021.
Brand stressed that the proclamation goes well beyond the flag proposal in supporting the entire LGBTQ+ community. The draft proclamation begins: “WHEREAS Natick Public Schools are committed to creating an inclusive, safe, caring, and challenging learning environment viewed through an equity lens;”
The Town of Natick in recent years has made proclamations declaring June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in town (2023 proclamation embedded below).
Natick Town Administrator Jamie Errickson says the town (non-schools) does not have a formal flag policy other than abiding by state requirements to fly the national United States flag as well as the Commonwealth’s flag, and lowering flags as appropriate. “We haven’t, historically to my knowledge, flown any other flags at town hall,” he said.
Please send news tips, photos, ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to contribute $ to support our independent journalism venture, please do….