A New Jersey school district has removed rainbow-colored “Safe Zone” signs that hang outside its middle school classrooms after parents deemed them uninclusive.
Washington Township Superintendent Peter Turnamian announced the measure at his board of education meeting Jan. 3. according to NJ.com.
The square signs, hung at Long Valley Middle School, resembled the rainbow-striped pride flag, known to represent the LGBTQ+ community.
They were displayed to illustrate that the bedrooms were designated as safe spaces for its LBTQ+ student body.
However, parents expressed concern that other groups were not represented, in violation of the school’s inclusion policies, Epoch Times reported.
The signs, which were erected in 2019, will be replaced with those featuring the school’s panther mascot in an effort to promote respect for all.
“At the end of the day, counsel’s advice was to bring them down,” Turnamian said at the meeting, adding that the district received “appropriate criticism” for showing favoritism.
Newly elected school board member John Holly addressed the board in January about its lack of inclusion, saying: “School should be a safe space for all children, not just some children. “
In December, a lesbian and gay student at the school brought her concerns to the board.
“I can say that the LGBTQ+ community is constantly bullied and belittled in our school system,” said a student named Rose. “Rainbow safe zone stickers let kids like me know they’re not alone despite their differences.
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group in New Jersey, told the outlet that the removal of signage “sends a message to young LGBTQ people that they are not fully welcomed into the community. school environment.