After more than a dozen students at an Indio, Calif., high school began wearing badges that display rainbow symbols with strikes through them, officials told the teenagers to remove them. The decision is not set in stone, as the school is still weighing a final directive on the matter.
There was no disputing, even from the young people wearing them, that the symbols were meant to display resistance to LGBT rights and pride. Officials at Shadow Hills High School, about 25 miles east of Palm Springs, at first said they couldn't tell the teenagers to stop wearing the badges. Administrators believed the children's right to display the antigay symbols was protected, just as the right to wear pro-LGBT imagery was.
"After consulting with district level personnel and our legal counsel, it was determined that these students do have the protected right to freedom of speech, just as students portraying rainbows in support of the LGBT would," read a recent email by administrators to staff, according to The Desert Sun.
Shadow Hills officials believed they could only demand the children stop wearing the badges if the conduct rose to the level of bullying or intimidation — it seems they now believe that's the case, reports the Los Angeles Times. Many students felt the crossed-out rainbows are inherently offensive and distracting, especially since one of the symbols was placed on the offices of the Gay-Straight Alliance.