The Student News Site of The Woodlands College Park High School

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The Student News Site of The Woodlands College Park High School

The Paladin

The Student News Site of The Woodlands College Park High School

The Paladin

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Leave Your Pride at the Door?

Jason Fochtman
Melissa Dungan seen at the August first board meeting

Conroe ISD Trustee Melissa Dungan advocated for the removal of “personal ideologies” from classrooms, focusing on symbols of queer pride, in an August 1 board meeting. This follows a wave of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws being put in place such as the banning of HRT and hormone blockers for minors and the restriction of trans athletes in college sports teams. The argument used by Dungan is flawed and unstable and seemingly posed in bad faith as indicated by Dungan’s answer to opposing questions. Moreover, this action can have disastrous mental health effects on many of Conroe ISD’s queer students.

“When children are told what and how to believe whether it is verbal, in writing or through visual symbols, they miss out on the freedom to think for themselves and use the skills they are learning in the classroom,” Dungan said. Dungan then cited pride flags as an example of “personal ideology” and said that, “I hope we can take steps in working with our superintendent and school administrators to ensure CISD has the best learning environment where personal ideologies are left at the door.”

Yet, this argument refuses to look in the face of the fact that pride flags are in no way related to personal ideology and the fact that personal ideology is routinely displayed and in no way challenged when not considered antithetical to the challenger’s beliefs.

The Cambridge dictionary defines ideology as “a set of beliefs or principles, especially one on which a political system, party, or organization is based.” Queer Pride, is simply the support of dignity, visibility, and equality in the context of LGBTQIA+ oppression. While one could argue that Pride fits the first half of this definition, the banning of symbols based solely on this part would also result in the banning of College Park’s motto of “Commitment, Pride, Honor, Success!” With the latter part of the definition taken into account, Pride symbols as ideology fall flat seeing as they’re not directly connected with any “political system, party, or organization”.

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But, even if Pride flags were indeed “Personal Ideology,” banning them would still be inconsistent with the practical application of the banning of personal ideology. If pride was considered a personal ideology then it would be no stretch to consider any religious, state, sport, or other symbols as personal ideologies. Even the United States and Texas flags, the ones which we pledge allegiance to every day, can easily be argued as being personal ideological symbols. 

Dungan and her allie’s arguments being in bad faith and not applied to their own “personal ideologies” can be best exemplified by the questioning of whether bible verses are in violation of the policy, in which Dungan was described as “struggling to respond” and finally answering with “I don’t know.”

The argument used by Dungan being flawed is not the most important criticism brought against her proposal, instead the most urgent criticism is that this puts the lives of LGBTQIA+ students in serious risk.

A 2023 U.S. national study by The Trevor Project found that “41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year” and even more saddening, “14% of LGBTQ young people attempted suicide in the past year.” These results are even more impacting when considering results from the National Alliance of Mental Illness which stated that in the U.S., “nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide.” That means that queer young people in the US contemplate suicide at an over 200% higher rate then their non-queer peers.

The correlation of these statistics with the banning of pride flags becomes extremely obvious when other findings of the Trevor Project are taken into account. Based on the study, “Nearly 2 in 3 LGBTQ young people said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ people at school made their mental health a lot worse” and furthermore, “Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.”

Yet, as this is an issue concerning the whole of the school, it must be open to the opinion and discussion of the whole of the school. 

Please, send us your opinion, and make your voice heard.

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About the Contributor
Nyx Garibi-Moreyra, Newswriter

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