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Irving ISD says it has not suspended LGBTQ student group following MacArthur High protest

The school’s Gay Straight Alliance has not and will not be suspended, the district said in a statement on Facebook.

The Irving school district disputed rumors Monday that a student gay rights organization at MacArthur High School had been suspended or prohibited from meeting or distributing fliers.

In a statement on Facebook, the district said it wants to “dispel the false and misinformed rumors and inaccurate information circulating on social media, in emails and in newsrooms.”

The school’s Gay Straight Alliance has not and will not be suspended, the district said, noting that the organization is permitted to distribute fliers as long as it follows district policies and guidelines in doing so.

Please see the district’s official updated response to last week’s events at MacArthur High School.

Posted by Irving Independent School District on Monday, September 27, 2021

Hundreds of students walked out of class last week to protest the treatment of two teachers allegedly removed from school earlier this month for supporting gay and transgender students.

Students said that some teachers placed rainbow stickers on their classroom doors as a signal to students that they were safe spaces for LGBTQ students.

But the school principal required them to remove the stickers, citing district policy that teachers cannot use the classroom to “transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues.”

Several students said that two teachers who fought the removal of the stickers had not yet returned to school since the incident.

The district has declined to comment on the teachers’ statuses, but said principals do not have authority to place employees on administrative leave or fire them; those decisions are instead made at the district level.

“With respect to personnel matters, it is the practice of Irving ISD not to comment publicly on ongoing investigations and personnel matters of district employees,” the district said in its statement. “That is Irving ISD’s practice even when the accusations being made against the district are false and misinformed.”

One of the teachers, Rachel Stonecipher, who is the sponsor of the campus’ Gay Straight Alliance, told KTVT-TV (Channel 11) that she could not answer questions about her removal.

“I’m fine. The kids don’t need to be concerned about me,” she said, adding that she and other teachers remain allies.

The district said it is committed to providing a culture of acceptance and inclusivity for everyone.

“All students are welcome in Irving ISD, and our goal is to provide an accepting, safe and inclusive environment for every student, employee and family,” the district said.

Sarah Bahari, Special Contributor. Sarah Bahari is a freelance writer covering Arlington, Irving and Grand Prairie. She previously worked as a features writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where she covered a little of everything. Email her tips at sarahbahari@gmail.com.

sarahbahari@gmail.com
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