The principal of Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, in Georgia, is potentially in deep sh*t after he was captured on video bursting a bunch of rainbow balloons that were sent as a show of support to a student whose LGBTQ artwork had been taken down by school officials, with parents saying they compared it to a Nazi flag.
The child’s artwork, which featured a rainbow and the wording “gay is OK”, had initially been displayed by teachers until a parent reportedly complained and it was removed by school administrators, who allegedly drew comparisons to Nazi symbolism in the process.
The school, which teaches children aged 5 to 11, faced online backlash at the time but insisted that they were “working to address the issues with all parties involved”.
However despite their claims to take action, a video has now surfaced online of who is reported to be school principal Bipul Singh finding the balloons, reading the note attached, then getting a pair of nearby scissors, popping them, and throwing them in the trash.
It is reported that the balloons were sent directly to Principal Singh and Vice Principal Sandra Scott, on Jan. 28, with a note saying, “GAY IS OK”, the same message that was drawn on the student’s now-removed rainbow art work.
According to reports by Online Athens, the anonymous child and their family are being represented by lawyer Jeff Jackson, who confirmed that legal proceedings have yet to be brought and that he is trying to resolve the issue amicably and without involving the court system.
Parents at the school are reported to have gone on record saying it wasn’t the first time the school has faced issues with discrimination:
“There are ongoing complaints about this current administration being discriminatory against women, being discriminatory against LGBTQ people, being discriminatory against English language learners or emerging bilinguals, emerging multilingual and Spanish speakers,” said parent Jemelleh Coes. “So we have seen a pattern of inequity at our school and we have been asking for support at this point for years.”
Brannon Gaskins, the district’s interim superintendent, said he was aware of the alleged comparison and condemned it in a statement:
“We wholeheartedly condemn this reference [to Nazi symbolism] and apologise for the harm these events have caused the student, the Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary community, CCSD, and the entire Athens community, specifically members and allies of our LGBTQIA+ community. We provided the staff member with the opportunity to explain the situation and context and encouraged reflection on their choice of words and the subsequent impact on members of our community.”
However further adding: “We disagree with the suggestion that the staff member should be subject to a visible disciplinary action. We acknowledge this situation could have been handled with more care, thought, and attention.”
A Change.org petition calling for the removal of Principal Singh and Vice Principal Scott from their positions has, at the time of writing, just exceeded 1.500 signatures, with a target of 2,500. The petition also alleges it was Scott who compared the artwork to Nazi symbolism and says that Singh supported her when the teacher complained.
Watch the video here or below: