Black Lives Matter flags to fly at Essex, Westford schools


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More schools will now be added to the growing list of Vermont schools that fly “Black Lives Matter” flags.

On Tuesday, the Essex Westford Community Unified Union School District School Board voted unanimously to allow students at Westford Elementary School and Essex High School to fly the flags.

A Westford Elementary school student said 35 children signed the petition at her school.

More than 400 students signed a petition at the high school, according to a student. It was spearheaded by the school’s Diversity Club.

“I feel really good,” said Denetra Reeves, a sophomore at Essex High School. “It means that Essex High School is getting more diversity in it because we only have 4% African Americans in the school. Making us, like me, African Americans, feel welcome to the school more.”

“In that gymnasium, [the Hiawatha School has] the nationality flag of every single student that goes there. That shows unity,” said a parent at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “If you wanted to have an overall flag, I think All Lives Matter, that is what it should have been. I have that flying up in front of my house.”

Before giving approval, the board set new flagpole guidelines regarding who can request a flag, the need for a time frame, and some provisions for what kind of flag can be flown, among other items.

There is no date set yet for when they will be hung. They will be taken down after the school year is completed.

Beyond that, students will have to request approval again.

Schools in Burlington and Montpelier and the University of Vermont have also hung the Black Lives Matter flag.

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