NJ high school removes BLM and MAGA signs from classrooms
A desk decal that included the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and a Trump campaign sign with the slogan "Make America Great Again" both had been on display within the same Monmouth County high school, until complaints about political messaging from community members.
Middletown Board of Education President Pam Rogers confirmed that a "Unity Statement" that included the terms "Black Lives Matter" and "Love is Love" — typically in support of same-sex marriage — was removed from a classroom last week. The Trump campaign slogan was removed from a classroom as well.
"This was an administrative decision, made with advise from our legal council," Rogers said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5. "From what I understand, both signs were disrupting the day-to-day operations of the school district."
A photo of the "United Statement" desk decal was initially posted by resident Mike Craig to a private Facebook group, Middletown Township Community and Families, along with a message that said in part, "We don't want your progressive views imposed upon our children."
The full decal at Middletown High School North, as reported by Patch Middletown, read "In this class, we believe that Black Lives Matter, Women's Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love, Kindness is Everything."
It is at least the second reported incident in New Jersey this school year involving classroom controversy over political messaging, specifically regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.
An art classroom at an elementary school in Atlantic County prompted criticism from some local parents in early September, after a bulletin board featured the names of Black men and women who died in police involved incidents, and a Black Lives Matter logo was featured on a Google classroom header.
Both were taken down, according to a father who was among those who raised concerns, in part citing the young age of the students seeing the messages.
According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, general guidelines are that each school district should have a policy addressing issues in the classroom and the introduction of materials that may be related to curriculum but are not specifically included in the curriculum guide.
A model policy provided to schools by the NJSBA on “Controversial Issues” calls for such materials and related discussion to match the maturity level of students, be related to curriculum, not be disruptive and not be confined to a single viewpoint.
Middletown High School North previously dealt with racial tensions stemming from the mention of the Black Lives Matter movement in social media posts last spring.