Northwest Indiana school district says signs with certain social justice messages are political, must come down

ST. JOHN, Ind. (CBS) –Signs with messages such as, “Science is real,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Love is love,” are coming down in a Northwest Indiana school district.

Parents took issue with a poster that showed all of those messages under a header of “In this classroom, we believe…” The poster also carried the messages “feminism is for everyone,” “humans are not illegal,” and “kindness is everything.”

Among the symbols on the poster is a rainbow LGBTQ Pride flag inside a heart to go with the message “Love is love.” Also seen on the poster are a raised black fist for Black Lives Matter, and a raised pink fist in a Venus symbol for feminism.

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CBS 2


A parent complained that the messages were politically over the line, and went to the school board at the Lake Central School Corporation.

On Monday night, CBS 2 learned the district ordered teachers to take down those messages – and only to display religious or political displays considered “neutral.”

Lake Central School Corporation Supt. Larry Veracco told a packed house at the school board meeting Monday night that “staff was notified during the week of Oct. 10 that items supporting Black Lives Matter, Pride flags, specific LGBTQ messaging, and religious messaging need to be removed as soon as possible.”

The superintendent said the posters could open up the district to legal trouble under Indiana law.

“That pride flag in Illinois not considered a political message. In Oregon, it’s not considered a political message,” Veracco said at the board meeting. “In Indiana, it is.”

The superintendent said case law indicates classroom decorations are considered nonverbal speech, and students are mandated to attend school – making them a captive audience.

Student displays and student wardrobes are not impacted by this new rule.

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