No rainbow flags on school flagpoles

MILFORD – The school board Monday night upheld a decision of former superintendent of schools

Robert Marquis to not allow gay pride flags to fly on the school district’s flagpoles.

George Hoyt, who organized the town’s first gay pride rally on the Milford Oval last month, had appealed the decision.

Hoyt wasn’t at the meeting, but state Rep. Joelle Martin told the board that flying the flag would be a welcoming gesture “critical for our students to thrive and become their best selves.”

The vote to uphold the decision was 3-1.

The district’s flag policy only mentions American flags and the state flag, said board Chairman Ron Carvell

who said he fully supports the gay community, but as a longtime veteran believes the flag poles should be only for United States and New Hampshire flags.

“We would like to see some alternative that recognizes all walks of life,” he said.

Board member Robert Willette said when the district installed tiles at Heron Pond a cross that said “Love” was not allowed, so gay pride flags should not be allowed.

When he mentioned a “slippery slope” in which Boy Scouts or church groups could also ask to fly flags on the flag poles, Martin said there is no way to compare Scouts with the the daily struggles of lesbian, gay and transgender young people.

Jenn Siegrist, the lone dissenter, suggested the issue be brought to the high school’s student council.

Selectmen had also denied a request from Hoyt to fly rainbow flags on the town flag poles, but did allow rainbow flags to decorate the bandstand during a June 30 rally.

Len Mannino attended the rally and said it was exciting, but the school district is responsible for “dozens and dozens of different beliefs and ethnicities” and signaling out one might not be a good idea.