The Sunol Glen Unified School District Board of Trustees is set Tuesday to discuss a potential resolution that would require Sunol Glen School to only display the U.S. and state flags at the school.
The proposal comes in the wake of the Aug. 1 board meeting when SGUSD Board President Ryan Jergensen responded to four community members who spoke at the end of the meeting saying that they were concerned about "special interest flags being flown."
"There were a few people in the community that were concerned about which flags or special interest groups were being put up on the chain linked fence or flag pole," Jergensen said.
Though not directly stated by name by Jergensen or the critic speakers, the conversation seemed to be referring to the LGBTQ pride flag that the school usually hangs up from the fence outside of the school during June as a way to recognize Pride Month -- based on other comments at the meeting and subsequent public discourse in Sunol circles.
While the flag has been put up every year since 2021 -- thanks to a resolution approved by the board at that time in support of the LGBTQ+ community -- without any issues, this year was different in that the flag was torn down during the first week of June, according to a letter written by former Sunol school board member Denise Kent Romo.
In that letter, which she shared to the "Inform Sunol" email newsletter, Romo stated that Sunol Superintendent/Principal Molleen Barnes had raised the flag on the school's flagpole in order to ensure its safety, which led to some resident concern. Four community members voiced those concerns about fairness and making sure other groups don't get to put up their own flags during that Aug. 1 board meeting.
Romo said that she is upset that rather than addressing and condemning the potential hate crime vandalism, school board members have decided to draft the resolution in question in order to ensure no other flags, such as the pride flag, are ever raised in the school.
"Rather than condemning whoever committed the vandalism, I heard people at a school board meeting dehumanizing our LGBTQ+ kids by calling them a -- 'special interest group' -- intimating that they had a political agenda of sorts," Romo stated in her letter referring to the four who spoke at the August meeting. "It is fact that our LGBTQ+ students are a protected class and not a 'special interest group.'"
The proposed resolution specifically cites California Government Code that states it is "neither federal nor California law requires elementary school districts to display any other flags besides the Flag of the United States of America and the Flag of the State of California."
"The Sunol Glen Unified School District desires to display only those flags required by law," the statement reads.
If resolved and adopted, the resolution states that the school will effectively immediately "display only the Flag of the United States of America and the Flag of the State of California at the Sunol Glen School."
The board's open-session meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 12). Read the full agenda here.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly implied Trustee Ryan Jergensen directly stated the LGBTQ pride flag during the August board meeting. Although the backdrop of the conversation, as based on other comments, the board member did not refer to the pride flag by name in his statement on displays by "special interest groups". The Weekly regrets the error.