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Waukesha teacher suspended after refusing to remove pride flag in classroom

This led to a one-day suspension without pay.
Posted at 12:08 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 13:08:48-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Some parents and students in the Waukesha School District are concerned after a teacher at Summit View Elementary was suspended for refusing to remove a pride flag from her classroom.

In August, the District sent out a letter to staff banning any form of signs that encourage personal beliefs and convictions to remain out of the classroom. This policy has now started to create divide in the district.

Sarah Whaley is a special education teacher at Summit View Elementary. The district requested that she remove the pride flag from her class, however, she refused.

"I just want kids to know that their identities are not divisive, not political, not disruptive and that they're welcome in our school," said Whaley.

This led to a one-day suspension without pay. She says the district went forth in removing the flag.

Based on the district's stance taken in August, they never specifically mention anything in regards to supporting or discouraging the LGBTQ community. They are clear that their role is educator/teacher and not activist/advocate.

This has been concerning for parents like Jess Kesheimer who has a 9-year-old that is a trans student within the district.

"I remember going into a new daycare and seeing a human rights campaign bumper sticker on someone's car and I was like I know I'm safe here. So signage that shows that people are supportive of my kid is huge," said Kesheimer.

On Friday, students and teachers district-wide wore rainbows to show off their support of Whaley.

A letter was sent out promptly to all students, parents, and staff by the superintendent to clarify that the "Rainbow Friday" event was not sponsored, approved, or endorsed by the school district.

Since the flag has been removed, Whaley has replaced it with this sign.

The School District cannot comment on the specifics relating to the suspension to protect both the employee and the School District.

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