Byron community pushes back against flag rules

[anvplayer video=”5103387″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – People in Byron gave speeches Monday to the school board about their concerns about the district’s ban on Ukrainian flags in classrooms.

They said they hope the school board reverses its decisions on removing the Ukrainian flag.

One former student said it’s important for students to be aware of civic engagement, so she started a petition that garnered more than 100 signatures.

"I think that there is a way that we can write a policy that addresses both my concerns and community concerns and your concerns in a way that can help everybody out," Audrey Johannes, a former student, said. "So that we’re actively helping students become engaged citizens as it was for the whole purpose of the school district and public education."

Another student said the conflict directly impacts his family and he would like to be able to openly support them.

"I have a personal connection to the Ukrainian flag as I have family there and that have come from Ukraine and escaped the genocide that has been happening there," Ben Olson, a freshman at Byron High School, said. "It is very heart touching to me knowing that they removed the flag because it was a political symbol."

Superintendent Mike Nuebeck said the district is following the advice of its lawyers to not take sides in controversial issues.

"We want our staff to be able to talk to their kids and be able to express their feelings and be able to try and understand where our kids are at and listen to kids and be able to talk pretty frankly about what’s happening, but also very factually we want them to have the right facts and not just something out there," Nuebeck said.

The district is allowing students to show support. They can wear flags and have them on their lockers, but teachers aren’t allowed to advocate for one side.