School officials condemn ‘anti-tolerant’ flags at Ponagansett High School

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NORTH SCITUATE – Officials at a school that regularly promotes inclusion reacted this week after several students reportedly brought in flags that administrators say symbolized anti-tolerance culture.

Ponagansett High School students posted photos on social media displaying the flags following a celebration of Pride Month, according to a report in The Providence Journal.

District leaders described the event as an “isolated incident” following the kickoff of Pride Month last week.

From a week-long anti-racism forum held amid Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, to photos on Facebook of students donning t-shirts proclaiming, “100 percent PRIDE,” the district aims to promote a culture of tolerance and inclusion, according to officials.

But last week, an administrator noticed some students had flags “symbolizing anti-tolerance culture, which is against core values of our district,” according to a statement reportedly provided to ProJo. The statement was signed by Foster Supt. Michael Barnes, Glocester Supt. Renee Palazzo and Ponaganset High School Principal Amanda Grundel. 

The students were called to meet with administrators, although it was unclear if they faced discipline.

The group reportedly posted pictures holding a Confederate flag and a flag that directed an obscenity at President Joe Biden.

“Our district condemns any and all hate speech in all forms, and we will not tolerate any behavior by any member of our school community who behaves contrary to that principle,” the statement noted. “We saw what a positive and inclusive environment our high school is during celebrations this week, and it’s important our students and community feel that same level of inclusion every day. As we move toward the close of our school year, we will continue to prioritize the safety of our students, and that includes maintaining an educational environment that prioritizes their physical, social and emotional well-being and safety.”

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