School board facing lawsuit over pride flag at Marshall Middle School

The issue came to a head during a public meeting his week.
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Controversy is brewing in a southwestern Minnesota city over an LGBTQ flag display at a local middle school. 

The flag, which was recently put up in the cafeteria at Marshall Middle School, was the subject of a packed public school board meeting this week, where a series of speakers on both sides of the issue addressed the crowd.

They included members of local clergy, parents, students and a lawyer named Bill Mohrman, who informed the board he's been retained by some Marshall residents to "represent them in a potential... lawsuit against the school board" over the pride flag. 

At issue, Mohrman said on Tuesday evening, was that the flag went up "without any guidelines or policies in place governing it."

The attorney also referenced a student speaker who preceded him at the microphone, an 8th grade boy who told the board his petition against the pride flag had been confiscated by school officials. 

As a result, the boy said, he decided to "get some flags that would represent me and others so we could feel included in our school"; those flags were displayed on the students' own lockers, but were soon taken down, he told the board.

This, Mohrman stated, represented a violation of that student's constitutional rights, "unequivocally." 

The attorney again called for a "viewpoint-neutral policy" that would determine how flags would be displayed in local schools, to ensure everyone has a "say in what symbols go up in a public building they support with their tax dollars..."

Failing the implementation of such a policy, he said, "we will file a lawsuit in federal district court" against the school board.

You can watch the entire meeting below:

As the Marshall Independent reported, Marshall Superintendent Scott Monson said he "would need to consult the school district’s legal representation before making any comments," though he did say he hadn't heard of the controversy before Tuesday's meeting. 

The paper notes that the display in question also included a U.S. flag and a variety of international flags as well. 

Meanwhile, a school district attorney tells KARE 11 that the board will meet in a closed session on March 2  "to consider strategy surrounding the threatened litigation."

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