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4J Bans Hate Symbols

Confederate flag, noose and swastika symbols prohibited on school grounds and during 4J events

A new district policy prohibits the display and use of hate symbols, including the Confederate flag, noose and swastika, on school grounds and during 4J-sponsored programs and events.

The Eugene School Board approved the policy at its meeting on Dec. 2, to align with a new state rule that bars these hate symbols and seeks to create a safer and more welcoming learning environment for all students and educators.

School administrators have reported examples in recent years of the presence of these symbols on 4J school grounds, such as displays of the Confederate flag on cars in parking lots and clothing, vandalism with swastikas on school buildings or on notebooks or desks, and images of nooses and swastikas displayed as a result of hacking by district students. These incidents are distressing and harmful for both students and staff, and take administrators and staff from other critical work.

For decades, 4J has prohibited discrimination and harassment against students and staff based on their race, color, religion and other protected statuses, and has measures to enforce such policies. However, until now, most school districts did not have an adopted board policy explicitly banning the identified hate symbols.

The temporary All Students Belong rule that the Oregon Department of Education approved in September requires school districts to adopt policies that ban hate symbols and address hate crimes and bias incidents that are not criminal.

The new 4J policy meets these and other requirements of the state rule, including establishing procedures for addressing bias incidents, and affirming that students and staff are entitled to work in discrimination- and harassment-free educational environments.

Prohibited hate symbols include not only the three most recognized, but also any other emblem associated with white supremacy or whose display is likely to be disruptive to school activities or interfere with students’ educational opportunities.

The policy applies to both in-person and distance learning environments. It does allow the use of the symbols in teaching that aligns with state standards. The board has directed the superintendent to develop the rules needed to enact the policy.

Board Policy ACB –Hate Symbols & Bias Incidents (scroll down)
Oregon Administrative Rule – All Students Belong

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