A bisexual teacher left his position at a Michigan school after the administration instructed him to remove his Pride flag.
On 22 November, an email regarding Pride flags was sent out to multiple teachers across a school district in Three Rivers Michigan.
In the email, the educators were instructed to remove their flags at the start of the school day and keep them put away until further notice.
The decision was prompted by an external challenge that reportedly “reached the board level.”
One of the teachers who received the email was Russell Ball – a bisexual physical education teacher at Three Rivers Middle School.
Upon receiving the notification, Ball decided to put in his resignation and announced the news via Twitter.
“I resigned today after 12 years in education when the district demanded I remove my pride flag from my classroom,” he wrote.
“I refuse to be an active part of the oppression and suppression of an already marginalized student population. The PRIDE flag isn’t political.”
I resigned today after 12 years in education when the district demanded I remove my pride flag from my classroom. I refuse to be an active part of the oppression and suppression of an already marginalized student population. The PRIDE flag isn’t political @wwmtnews @outfrontkzoo
— Russell Ball (@coach_lardie) November 22, 2021
In an interview with MLive, the 43-year-old gave further insight into his decision to leave his position
“To me, the flag stands for love and inclusion for everybody, not just for members of the LGBTQ community,” he explained.
“Removing the flag kind of felt like I was being complicit in suppressing and continuously marginalizing the students that have already been significantly marginalized, and I wasn’t gonna take a part in that.”
He went on to say that his decision was also stemmed from experiencing a “high level of teacher burnout” over the last few years.
Since Ball’s departure, Interim Superintendent Nikki Nash has also released a statement regarding the controversial situation.
“We continue to work with the district’s legal firm and board of education to ensure we are providing a safe learning environment for all students. There is a board meeting on December 6th,” the statement said.
In terms of his future plans, Ball told MLive that he plans on being a stay at home dad to his children for the time being.