Passaic high school students hang Pride banners after rule kept them from flying flag

PASSAIC, New Jersey (WABC) -- Students at a school in New Jersey wanted to celebrate Pride month, but when a rule wouldn't let them fly the flag on their flagpole, they found a way around that.

At Passaic Preparatory Academy, nearly every window in front is draped with a Pride banner.

"I actually like it a lot cause I think that the community is supporting more of these kids," Passaic resident Wara Laura said.

The display is the least that students and their supporters could do to the school in celebration of Pride month.

It's a change from last year when a Pride flag was flown on one of the poles. The district changed a policy that meant the Pride flag could not be raised again.

The Board of Education adopted Policy 1316, which set new rules that only the American flag and the state or school flags can be flown at schools.

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Derick Waller reports the state's 16 cent per gallon gas tax is suspended, and some counties are going further.

The board said that it was not adopted to limit any particular flag.

The banners are how students responded. One student, who didn't want to be identified, told Eyewitness News reporter Toni Yates why.

"You can't go on tell us how to feel every single day when a lot of us have internal anger towards it," the student said.

Poet Gregory Rodriguez lives in Passaic and has children in the school system. He said he has no issue with the LGBTQ community.

"The problem with being gay, because I've been around for quite some time and I've worked with the gay community -- it's become politicized," Rodriguez said.

But he disagrees with allowing students to decide to hang the banners without a wider discussion.

"The question is, were the teachers informed, was the community informed," he said.

For students like the young lady Eyewitness News spoke to, their push to reverse the Policy 1316 is not over.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Board of Education and school officials but got no response.

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