Ban Confederate flags at school? Committee focuses on new legislation
Should Oregon schools ban the Confederate battle flag? What about nooses?
Legislation set for a hearing Tuesday afternoon, March 2, could permanently forbid display of those items on property used for education programs across the state. House Bill 2697 requires schools and other "education providers to establish policies prohibiting the use or display of symbols of hate on school property or in education programs."
It continues a temporary policy adopted by Oregon's Board of Education in mid-September. The "All Students Belong" rule includes banning the Confederate battle flag, a noose or a swastika from school property.
Education union members, a coalition of school officials and school boards support the legislative proposal. It was supposed to get a hearing before the House Education Committee Feb. 25, but was bumped to Tuesday's agenda. The online hearing is at 1 p.m. at olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Committees/HED/Overview. HB 2697 is one of the first items on the agenda.
The Confederate battle flag has been the focus of attention recently from Oregon officials and commissions. The state Commission on Historic Cemeteries decided last fall to discourage display of the Confederate battle flag on Memorial Day. The commission's decision was advisory, but called for cemetery groups to ask people to refrain from putting the flag on graves during the holiday.
Another bill, Senate Bill 398, takes aim at nooses. SB 398, introduced by Portland Democrat Ginny Burdick, makes display of a noose to intimidate someone a Class A misdemeanor. An online public hearing on SB 398 begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation, olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Committees/SJD110/Overview.
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