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Anne Arundel County school board rejects Pride flag ban

Vote was 4-3 against proposed policy



(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Anne Arundel County Board of Education members on Wednesday rejected a proposed ban on non-government flags on school property. 

The policy would have banned flags, such as the Pride flag, Black Lives Matter flag and others from being hung or flown on school properties.

The board voted four to three, with one abstaining, against the proposed policy. The votes were as follows:

Board President Joanna Bache Tobin, District 6: No

Board VP Robert Silkworth, District 2: No

Eric Lin, Student Member: No

Gloria Dent, District 1: Abstain

Corine Frank, District 3: Yes

Melissa Ellis, District 4: Yes

Dana Schallheim, District 5: No

Michelle Corkadel, District 7: Yes

The ban, which Frank proposed, would have encouraged the display of the U.S. flag, Maryland flag and other local flags to fly at schools in the district. Any other flags displayed would have only been accepted for a “bona-fide educational purpose,” determined by the schools’ principals. 

Along with banning the Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, the policy would have required school staff to get permission to hang military, college and sports team flags and pennants.

Advocates for the policy argued that the display of Pride and Black Lives Matter flags harm students whose religious beliefs do not support LGBTQ or Black Lives Matter communities. Others argued the flags themselves were political symbols, and their presence would influence students’ political beliefs. 

The Anne Arundel chapter of Moms for Liberty, a far-right extremist group, was a strong supporter of the policy.

Opponents to the proposal argued a ban on flags would be one more step toward excluding LGBTQ studetns and students of color.

Lin, a  senior at Severna Park High School and the only student representative on the board, was met with applause from his colleagues and those in the audience when he expressed concern over the labeling of flags as political.

“The Pride flag, for example, is not a political or social issue,” Lin said. “LGBTQ people exist in our society and their fight for continued equality is represented by the Pride flag. It is a human rights issue … in a public school system, the goal is to teach students that there are people who are different than them that exist, and teachers don’t teach students to be queer. They teach students that queer people exist and to treat them like human beings.”



Moms for Liberty is winning its fight to remove books from one Md. school district

56 books are temporarily off Carroll County library shelves



(Bigstock photo)

By Kristen Griffith | Carroll County Public Schools can’t keep up with a flood of requests to review 56 school library books by a group of parents who oppose their content, so the superintendent has temporarily taken them off the shelves.

Flooding the queue is the conservative parents-rights group Moms for Liberty, whose Carroll County chapter has joined its nationwide call for stricter school library book selection, targeting titles with sexual content, in particular.

The rest of this article can be found at the Baltimore Banner website.

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Md. governor visits, praises Baltimore LGBTQ Safe Haven

Moore calls facility ‘invaluable resource’ for community



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Sept. 8 visited Baltimore Safe Haven. Moore is pictured here at the 2023 Baltimore Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and the state’s lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller, on Sept. 8 visited Baltimore Safe Haven, a transitional housing and support organization that provides a wide range of services for the LGBTQ community, with a special outreach to the transgender community.

A statement released by Moore’s office says the visit was made in partnership with the Maryland Commission on LGBTQIA+ Affairs and provided an opportunity for him and Miller to tour Safe Haven’s housing facilities and learn more about the services it offers.

“In Maryland, we lead with love and inclusion, and nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” Moore said in a statement. “Baltimore Safe Haven provides help and hope to the people who need it most,” he said. “The only way forward is together, and Baltimore Safe Haven has a partner in the State House.”

Moore added, “We have a lot of work to do, and we must tackle that work in partnership. If we do, we can build a kinder, safer Maryland for all.”

Miller said in the statement that she and the governor fully support Baltimore Safe Haven’s work and mission.

“Baltimore Safe Haven’s services are a critical link in the continuum of care for our LGBTQIA+ community, specifically for Black transgender Marylanders, and our administration is proud to be their partner,” she said.

Iya Dammons, the founder and executive director of Baltimore Safe Haven who on July 28 officially opened a D.C. Safe Haven facility at 331 H St., N.E., said the visit by Moore and Miller to the Baltimore facility has highlighted the organization’s work to provide support for people in need.

“Baltimore Safe Haven has been at the forefront of this fight, providing a lifeline to those who have been disproportionately affected by homelessness, discrimination, and violence,” she said in a statement. “During their walk-through, Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller and Governor Wes Moore witnessed firsthand the compassionate and empowering environment created by Baltimore Safe Haven.”

Added Dammons, “We hope that their visit will inspire others to join our mission to create a more inclusive and equitable Maryland.”

 Like the Baltimore Safe Haven operation, Dammons said the D.C. Safe Haven will provide a wide range of services, including housing for homeless LGBTQ youth, a computer lab, a drop-in center, a case manager, and a once-a-week clinic supported by the University of Maryland.

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Md. man pleads guilty to making threats against HRC

Adam Nettina left voicemail after massacre at Nashville’s Covenant School



Adam Michael Nettina (Photo courtesy of the Justice Department)

A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to making threats against the Human Rights Campaign.

The Justice Department in a press release notes Adam Michael Nettina, 34, of West Friendship, Md., pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of using interstate communications with a threat to injure.

The press release notes Nettina admitted to leaving a threatening voicemail on March 28, 2023, that referenced the massacre at the Covenant School in Nashville, which took place the day before.

“The message referenced a mass shooting that had happened the day before at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, involving multiple shooting fatalities, where the perpetrator was a transgender woman,” notes the press release. “During the call to the advocacy organization on March 28, Nettina made multiple threats, including, ‘…We’ll cut your throats. We’ll put a bullet in your head … You’re going to kill us? We’re going to kill you 10 times more in full.'”

The Justice Department said Nettina “admitted to leaving the threatening voicemail and to targeting his victims because of their actual and perceived gender, gender identity and sexual orientation” and acknowledged he sent threatening messages to two lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland who publicly support trans people.”

Nettina faces up to five years in prison.

“The defendant in this case attempted to terrorize the LGBTQI+ community by calling in multiple threats of violence to a local advocacy group,” said Luis Quesada, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI will not tolerate these acts of hate, and we remain committed to investigating civil rights violations and keeping our communities safe and free from fear.”

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