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Flag debate: De Pere parents speak out on proposed school board policy

Posted at 9:19 PM, Aug 22, 2023
  • The potential new policy would limit allowable flags at district schools to the United States, Wisconsin, and Prisoners of War/Missing in Action flags — all others would need Board of Education approval
  • The Unified School District of De Pere Board of Education tabled the proposal at Monday's meeting and will discuss again on Monday, Sept. 18
  • Proponents say the policy will ensure that no flag that conflicts with any student's religious or ideological beliefs will fly in a public education context
  • Opponents say the policy is an effort to prohibit the Pride flag from flying at De Pere schools

(The following is a transcript of the broadcast story shown above)

"Once you start getting into the realm where you're dealing with people's children, you're going to get a very emotional response."

Parents are speaking out about whether a school board should restrict which flags can fly at its schools.

Your De Pere neighborhood reporter Karl Winter spoke with these parents about why the issue is about more than just flags.

The De Pere School District is considering a policy change that would limit what types of flags can fly outside and inside of schools. Parents in favor of the change say it's important not to fly flags that are in any way ideologically limiting, while those opposed to the change say that this problem is not a problem at all, but just a political tactic.

"De Pere doesn't have a flag problem. There is not an issue here that needs to be solved with a policy."

Christy Welch spoke at monday's school board meeting in opposition of the policy and believes the Board does not want to see a certain flag flown.

"Why would someone try to work on a problem that doesn't need to be solved? That's because they were trying to preemptively create a policy that would prevent the Pride flag from being flown."

Doug Reich was also at the meeting and says it's not about the Pride flag, but about creating a neutral environment for students.

"It's inappropriate for one group to be represented in their beliefs without another group being equally represented."

The new policy would state that all flags other than these two and the POW/MIA flag would "require the prior approval of the Board of Education."

A similar debate played out in the Common Council of the City of Green Bay back in February, with the mayor eventually voting not to adopt a more prohibitive flag policy. Now that it has reached a school board, those in favor of the motion say that the De Pere School District will not be the last to deal with this kind of issue.

"If this is happening in De Pere, it's probably coming to your school system."

The board opted not to vote on the motion yet postponing its discussion to the next meeting on Monday, September 18. In De Pere, I'm Karl Winter, NBC 26.