A trustee for one Texas school district is urging the district to restrict displays of racial inclusivity after a child was reportedly “traumatized” by a classroom poster of children of a variety of skin tones holding hands.
That trustee, Melissa Dungan, is part of the Conroe Independent School District board. She reported that the poster impacted a first-grade student to the point where the child had to swap classrooms.
Now, she wants CISD schools to limit displays similar to the poster, stating that those portrayals represent “symbols of personal ideologies” to justify the crackdown.
During a board meeting on Aug. 1, Dungan initiated the discussion about certain items in classrooms, stating she had been personally approached by a number of concerned parents about these “supposed displays of personal ideologies,” such as the poster and the display of Pride flags.
“I wish I was shocked by each of the examples that were shared with me, however, I am aware these trends have been happening for many years,” Dungan said.
She said that schools should limit displays in classrooms to the American flag, Texas flag, school flags, and college pendants and remove any politically-motivated posters or displays.
District officials pointed her to an existing policy that prohibits political displays in school classrooms, but Dungan wants to expand that policy.
Another trustee wanted Dungan to clarify her reasoning on what she found so unacceptable about the poster.
“Just so I understand, you are seriously suggesting that you find objectionable, a poster indicating that all are included,” Stacey Chase said.
Dungan wouldn’t give her personal thoughts on the poster but pushed the board to adopt stricter standards and adhere to state policies already in place.
“When children are told what and how to believe whether it verbal, in writing or through visual symbols, they miss out on the freedom to think for themselves and use the skills they are learning in the classroom,” she said.
Board members then began exchanging questions about displays of Pride flags and Bible verses in schools, which Dungan met with uncertainty.
Trustee Datren Williams posed a question about history-based classes that might have flags from previous eras or other states and countries. Another trustee said that would not violate any policies because those flag displays are part of the curriculum. CISD schools aren’t allowed to post anything political that doesn’t meet school curriculum standards.
Board President Skeeter Hubert asserted that the district policy and state law already adequately address scenarios where particular items are put on display. He said any situations brought to district officials would be individually addressed.
People online aren’t falling for the story that the child is behind this effort, but rather the student’s parents.
“I’m guessing a racist parent saw a poster in the kid’s classroom and forced his kid to change classrooms,” one person wrote on X.
“If a child is traumatized by seeing people of different colours holding hands, they need removing from the adults that instilled that fear. It’s not fair to the child to be made that fearful of other people,” another X user commented.
The Conroe Independent School District is located in Montgomery County, Texas. According to Census reports, the county is nearly 86 percent white and only 7 percent Black as of 2022.