Story at a glance

  • A middle school teacher in Michigan resigned last week after he was instructed multiple times by school administrators to remove a LGBTQ+ Pride flag from his classroom.
  • The former teacher, Russell Ball, said in a TikTok video that he quit because he did not want to send a message to his students that those in the LGBTQ+ community, including himself, don’t belong.
  • Ball said he and others plan to protest the school’s decision to remove Pride flags from classrooms at an upcoming school board meeting.

A middle school teacher in Michigan last week left his job after school officials reportedly told him to remove a LGBTQ+ pride flag from his classroom.

Russell Ball, a former teacher in St. Joseph County, Mich., said he resigned after a parent complained to school administrators about his classroom’s LGBTQ+ flag and he was instructed to take it down.

“When the administration came around and told me to take down my Pride flag, I told them no. I was not going to be an active participant in the suppression and oppression of an already marginalized group that I am a part of,” Ball, who identifies as bisexual, says in a video posted to TikTok.

“The Pride flag stands for love, inclusion, and equality -- something that should be present in every single classroom across the country. By removing it, I feel like I am being told I am invalidated, that I don’t belong. And that’s not a message I want to send to myself or any of my students,” he says.


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Ball told a local Fox-affiliate station in western Michigan that he was one of several teachers to receive emails from school officials instructing them to remove Pride flags from their classrooms, but that he was the only hold out after multiple messages.

"They were asking me to be complicit,” he said. “It wasn't something I was going to do.”

In emailed comments to MLive, a local Michigan news outlet, the school’s principal and interim superintendent said the removal of Pride flags in classrooms could be temporary and the issue is under review.

Already-established Gay Straight Alliance clubs in the school system may continue regular activities as long as they follow board policy.

Ball said the incident makes him concerned for some of his students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and those who may be struggling with their identities.

“I wouldn't have struggled with my own sexuality for 30 years” if being a part of the LGBTQ+ community had been more normalized while he was growing up, he said.

Ball said he and others plan to protest the school’s decision to remove Pride flags at an upcoming school board meeting on Dec. 6.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

DOCTOR WHO DISCOVERED OMICRON EXPLAINS THE SYMPTOMS TO WATCH OUT FOR

LUSH COSMETICS QUITTING SOCIAL MEDIA TO BRING AWARENESS TO MENTAL HEALTH

EX-PRESIDENT TRUMP GIVEN NINTH-DEGREE BLACK BELT IN TAEKWONDO

SCIENTIST PREDICTS EARTH WILL DEVELOP RINGS LIKE SATURN

EXPERTS PREDICT AN ALARMING SURGE OF US COVID-19 CASES THIS WINTER

Published on Nov 30, 2021