On March 23 the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board discussed a request it received from a parent on March 10 on behalf of his 5-year-old son to fly the Ukrainian flag at Moretown Elementary School. This was the first such request the board had received since creating a flag policy, which it approved on January 26, 2022. While the flag request application was not yet available at the time of the request, it has since become available.
The parent answered all the questions required of the application in an email, but the board felt that the responses were not sufficient for the requirements as they are currently laid out. Specifically, the request did not come directly from students or a school group, and the board discussed whether stating that a teacher was supportive of the request constituted a faculty advisor as outlined in the policy. It also questioned whether there was sufficient student support among the preschool students.
The HUUSD flag policy states: “The school board will only consider flag requests from HUUSD students, school groups or staff when there is sufficient reason to believe that such messaging via the flag will promote student well-being. Requests must be aligned with the HUUSD vision, goals and student learning outcomes.”
It further says: “The board is not obligated to approve any flag requests, but all flag requests that meet the criteria will be considered for approval. Requests that meet the criteria outlined below are not guaranteed approval by the Board because flag requests are suggestions for Board consideration. This policy determines how those suggestions are to be proposed. The criteria outlined in this policy establish minimum standards in order for a flag request to be considered, but the Board has the right to apply other standards beyond the minimum at its discretion.”
The board discussed clarifying its procedures for determining a flag request. The board voted on whether to approve the current request as is. Marlena Fishman, Waterbury, abstained. All other board members voted ‘no’ on approving the current request. “It’s not dead, it just needs better procedure,” Ashley Woods, Warren, said.
The board approved a motion to add an agenda item to its April 13 meeting to discuss the process and clarify procedures of the flag policy. Superintendent Nease recommended board chair Kristen Rodgers, Moretown, and vice chair Kelly Hackett, Waterbury, work with her to clarify the procedures and bring their recommendations to the April 13 meeting. They agreed to develop a draft of procedures for the board’s review of the flag policy by then.