Officials say they can use the controversy as learning tools for free speech.
The Gay Straight Trans Alliance committee at Kennebunk High School in Maine was trying to send a message of inclusion when they got permission to fly a rainbow flag on the pole at the school’s entrance.
Less than a week later the flag was taken down because a trans student was uncomfortable with the media attention the school was getting for flying it in the first place.
Kennebunk is the first school in Maine to raise a rainbow flag on campus, and it quickly became “politicized” said Principal Sue Cressey.
She said the flag will be displayed inside the school, and “"we will continue to support all students."
Cressey explained that the five poles were purchased many years ago by an exchange organization which hoped that different flags from around the world would be flown on them.
“That's how it all came about,” said Cressey. “It's not a political thing. It's a group of nice kids within the school that watch out for each other. It's a group of kids across the culture of the high school, just trying to be nice people, because that's the way our kids are here.”
Only hours after the pride flag was lowered it appeared some students from a different high school wanted to make a statement of their own and showed up at Ellsworth High School with large Confederate Flags attached to the tailgates of their trucks.
The Confederate Flag has long been a controversial symbol, representing the south’s opposition to northern ideals, especially abolishment. These flags were flown during the American civil war.
Ellsworth’s Principal Dan Clifford and school Superintendent Dan Higgins were notified of the displays but didn’t ask the students to remove the flags.
“Our response [was] based upon respecting the rights of students to free expression and balancing that right with the safety and welfare of all our students and staff,” said Higgins in a statement to the press.
After a few days the students removed the Confederate flags from their vehicles, school officials saying the incident can be used to educate the student body about freedom of expression.