Due to ongoing theft and vandalism, P.S. 110 in Greenpoint has had to replace around eight Black Lives Matter flags and four Pride flags that parents hang outside the school to support anti-racism and inclusion, the Parent Teacher Association says.
Just last week, a Black Lives Matter flag that was hanging on a makeshift flagpole was taken down and replaced by an All Lives Matter flag and an American flag, Shannon Roop, a president on the school’s PTA, told New York Daily News.
“You’re in Brooklyn, you kind of forget, and all of the sudden this happens, and it’s like how did we get here?” she said.
Parents first started hanging the flags last September to show the school’s commitment to antiracism and LGBTQ rights, and within a day the first set were gone, she said. A months-long battle with unknown thieves has ensued.
Roop said some parents had reported tense encounters with locals, including an older woman and group of kids who were unsupportive of the flags. But since filing a police report after the first theft, they haven’t investigated further.
She said despite the ongoing vandalism, the parents weren’t giving up on hanging the banners. “It’s really for us like, this is who our school is and making that a point of pride.”
According to the Daily News, the ongoing battle isn’t the only one that has centered around Black Lives Matter messaging in District 14, which includes Williamsburg, Greenpoint and parts of Bushwick. Parents at Williamsburg’s P.S. 132 started a petition to demand change after the school allegedly expressed concerns over a “Black Lives Matter” post planned for the PTA’s Instagram page.
A parent at P.S. 132, Danielle Marchant, told the Daily News some progress had been made at school, but the “environment is still not where it needs to be.”
Parents at P.S. 147 in Bushwick said they have also had “hostile encounters” after plans were made to introduce Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ curriculum into the school.
The district’s Community Education Council has called on district officials to “give a public response,” create “an action plan to hold space for PS 110,” give an “acknowledgment of ongoing racism & homophobia in D14,” and assemble an “accountability team,” the Daily News reports.
Interim District 14 Chief Nyree Dawn Dixon told the outlet that the district staff “condemn in the strongest terms all racism, bias, inequity, and social injustice within our society.”
The district was working with a consultant to develop an equity plan and planned to work with education scholars to help school staff “develop racial literacy,” and engage in “personal reflection about racial beliefs and practices while teaching our students to do the same,” she added.