After the Indy asked Academy School District 20 about a complaint regarding a Confederate flag being displayed in a classroom and reported the issue here, the district held a meeting with various staff and stakeholders on May 5.
Nearly 25,000 people had signed a petition as of about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, urging Acad…
Allison Cortez, D20 chief communication officer, sent the Indy this letter from Superintendent Tom Gregory that went out to district patrons later that day.
"Let me begin by reinforcing that Academy District 20 (ASD20) is committed to ensuring all students and staff feel safe, supported, and welcome in our school communities. We have had time to understand the situation that led to the petition and we own and acknowledge the impact.
"Immediately, when learning of this petition, we began looking into this situation to understand its full context. We wanted to understand, 'why?' 'Why was a confederate flag used?' 'Was there instructional value and educational purpose?'
"We learned the flag was displayed as part of an 8th grade American History from Revolution to Reconstruction course. Numerous flags were displayed as the class learned about periods in American history. At the close of the unit, the class removed the flags and examined each flag’s historical context. Specific to the Confederate Flag, the class also discussed what the battle flag signified and how today, in 2021, the flag is viewed as a symbol of hate. The flag, along with others, are no longer on display as the unit of study has concluded.
"We believe our classrooms are spaces for safe, supported dialogue around historical and current events. We are grateful for the open conversations with all involved. These conversations will continue, and we will engage in further learning to push our district forward to make sure all in our school communities feel safe and supported.
"Academy District 20 does have policies about flag displays, selection of instructional materials, and teaching controversial issues. It does not appear district policies were violated. However, as we continue to move forward with our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work, all district policies will be evaluated.
"It is important to note earlier this year the district formed a DEI Task Force to conduct an equity audit of our school district. This situation highlights the need for such a Task Force, and its important work."
We reached out to the substitute teacher who complained about the flag, Hailey Schramm, to get her take on how the district handled the issue and haven't heard back. We'll update if and when we hear something.