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Eugene 4J to Vote on Policy Banning Hate Symbols

Elizabeth Gabriel

The Oregon Department of Education approved the temporary All Students Belong rule in September to ban hate symbols in schools. The Eugene 4J school district is scheduled to vote on the policy during their Dec. 2 board meeting.

The new policy will ban the presence of hate symbols—including the swastika, noose and Confederate flag—on school grounds or in any educational program that receives state revenue. 4J In-House Counsel Christine Nesbit says the district has prohibited discrimination for decades, but some students and faculty have still been exposed to hate symbols.

“Administrators have reported to us examples over the past five years, such as displays of the Confederate flag on cars in parking lots and clothing,” said Nesbit. “Swastikas at the entry of a school or on notebooks or desks. Images of nooses and swastikas displayed as a result of hacking by district students, so displayed visually.”

Under the All Students Belong rule, teachers are allowed to use hate symbols in teaching that aligns with state standards. Each Oregon school district must vote on a policy to determine how the district will address hate and bias incidents, and the response for holding offenders accountable.

School Districts are required to pass a policy banning hate symbols and establish procedures to address bias incidents by Jan. 1, 2021.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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