Osseo Area Schools appears to have approved a proposal to fly an LGBT “pride” flag at all district buildings “indefinitely,” according to an audio recording of a recent school board work session.
Under the district’s existing “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Resolution,” the school board “invites the community to join in the celebration by raising the LGBTQIA+ Progress Pride flag on June 1st at all district buildings and in the school board room as a symbol of support.”
The district has changed the language from “on June 1st” to “indefinitely,” according to an Aug. 15 recording of a work session.
This change was recommended by an LGBT advisory group and approved by former Superintendent Cory McIntyre, the recording suggests.
“That recommendation was made to the office of the superintendent, and our previous superintendent and the cabinet had that discussion and supported the recommendation and approved the recommendation to move forward with flying the Progress Pride flag indefinitely,” Duane Wardally, the district’s director of educational equity, said during the meeting.
“When did the wording change?” one board member asked, emphasizing the need for transparency.
“The advisory group in action item three serves to provide recommendations to the district on how to thoughtfully and strategically implement aspects of the action items. So the recommendation for the Progress Pride flag came in as an adaptation of this language to not raise and lower the flag each year but to indefinitely display it. That was the recommendation that came in and the superintendent and the office of the superintendent approved that recommendation,” Wardally explained.
McIntyre was replaced earlier this summer by Superintendent Dr. Kim Hiel, who began the meeting by explaining what “holding space” means.
“So board members, as we enter this conversation, as you understand we hold space and I’m just going to share what holding space means for us and we will hold space for our presenters today. The concept of holding space, it means that we’re willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome,” she explained. “When we hold space for another person, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, let go of judgment and control.”