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Middle ground: School board decides which flags can fly outside schools, does not decide on classrooms

De Pere school board adopts amended
Posted at 10:14 AM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 13:37:57-04
  • The De Pere school board adopted an amended flag policy at its meeting Monday night
  • The policy requires all schools to fly the United States flag outside schools, and automatically allows four other flags to fly outside schools:
    • State of Wisconsin
    • Flag representing the municipality in which a school is located
    • Flag representing the Unified School District of De Pere
    • Flags representing the United States Military Prisoners of War - Missing in Action (POW-MIA)
  • The full policy is available here, but note that the third paragraph of the Background section was removed
  • The amended version does not address flags on display inside buildings or classrooms
  • Two previous versions of the policy required all flags on school property (other than the five listed above) to get school board approval
  • The school board said it will discuss flags inside classrooms at its next regular meeting Oct. 16
  • Video shows board and community members providing their perspectives on the proposed flag policy

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The De Pere school board did make a decision, but did not take a hard stance. The board voted on an amended version of a new flag policy, which requires the United States flag to be flown outside of De Pere schools, and allows four other flags to be flown outside of schools. The new policy does not restrict which flags can appear inside of schools or classrooms.

"All those in favor?" board president Adam Clayton asked.

"Aye, "five members responded.

"Any opposed?"

"And I will abstain"

That was the vote — 5-0, with Clayton abstaining — in favor of a shorter policy — one that does not address flags in classrooms or require flags to be approved by the board.

The board decided that the current proposal was too vague.

"The way it's written here is too general," Vice President Chad Jeskewitz said.

So they chopped off the bottom and voted to require one flag to fly outside schools and allow other four others: Wisconsin State, city flag, POW/MIA, and the school district flag.

Some in favor of a restrictive flag policy spoke at the board meeting:

"It's going to help keep politics out of the school," Joel Neville said. "It's important; let's educate our kids, let's keep the politics out of school."

And some opposed to restrictive flag policies also voiced their opinions.

"It appears that the only flags being targeted for this motion are the Pride flag and the Black Lives Matter flag," Julie Vidani said.

Board members say they don't want to limit certain flags.

"I don't think there was an intent for us to ban any specific flag," Jeskewitz said.

But some believe that more needs to be done.

"We should know what's going on in our classrooms," member Brittony Cartwright said.

The flag debate is not over — the board added an agenda item to its October meeting to discuss flags inside the buildings. For now, teachers can still display flags inside classrooms without Board approval.