This article was written by sophomore Finley Torrens-Martin.
On April 27, 2022, during a WCSUUSD School Board meeting, students from U-32 proposed for the Progress Pride Flag to be raised on the U-32 school flag pole. The meeting lasted for over an hour before the board addressed the topic, which they discussed for approximately five minutes before reaching a unanimous approving decision.
The lack of controversy in the meeting extends to the student body, which has not made much noise about the pride flag, though members of the school community have been working on the proposal for the whole school year.
Discussion of a Pride Flag being raised at U-32 began officially in the fall of 2021, but “there’s been interest brewing for a while now,” said Wilder Brown, a junior at U-32, and GLAMM (Gay, Lesbian, And Many More) have been considering this for years. Brown said he came into the process in the fall of 2021 after writing an essay for school about why he thought the flag should be raised.
Brown said the process was slow and drawn out over the whole year. It started with a meeting with Steven Dellinger Pate about the process a flag raising has to go through. Then, over the next months, with some assistance from GLAMM advisor Nate Lovitz, students in the club worked on a draft of the proposal originally written by Brown.
Brown said this was a smaller group of people, between seven and ten, working at various points in the year on the actual writing. Any significant changes were brought to the larger GLAMM group. “We really wanted it to represent the group as a whole, not just the one or two individuals in the group,” Brown said.
Once they finalized a draft, they sent it to Dellinger Pate who shared it with the school board on March 11th.
Soon after the board received the proposal, they set a date for the meeting. The board meets regularly to discuss various matters including school policy, schedules for coming years, and funding among other things. This meeting was on Wednesday April 27th. Most of the meeting was dedicated to discussion of the last day of the 2021-2022 school year.
When their allotted time arose, Brown gave a short speech alongside freshman Edith Lane and junior Maya Elliott.
Everyone supported the raising and it passed with a unanimous vote after one question about the technical side of the flag poles. “[It] was really nice to see how much the school board members care about the student experience,” Brown said.
Maya Elliott is a student member of the school board and has been on zoom meetings with the members all year. They are not allowed to vote, but are able to be a part of meetings in other ways. Prior to the meeting, Elliott said they were nervous to speak but not really worried about getting turned down. Like Brown, Maya was also relieved that the vote wasn’t an issue.
Elliott said they decided to talk about the support they had received from the school to raise the flag and how much it would benefit people. “I figured I might as well use my voice for something because I can’t vote.”
Edith Lane was also nervous going into the meeting. “Even though I knew it was likely that they were going to say yes, there was still that underlying ‘what if?’” she said.
Lane decided to speak because she felt it was needed and was comfortable with public speaking. Her speech, written 20 minutes before the board meeting, focussed mostly on the education side of the flag and how it would help kids feel safer at school.
Lane said she is a little worried about how the student body will react when it goes up. A while ago, someone raised a pride flag without the school’s permission and Lane said the students didn’t all seem very excited it was up. While only being up for a day, people made negative comments about it and Lane said she saw some people protesting with Trump flags afterward.
Despite this fear, Lane is still very excited. “I am very proud of everyone,” she said. “It’s a really important step for the school.”
The flag will go up on Wednesday, June 1st, during callback.