Social & Political Expression

Guidance for BSD Staff & Community

We have received numerous questions from both staff and community members about the appropriate manner in which to express social or political viewpoints in schools — whether virtual or in-person. We understand and appreciate that our students, families and staff have beliefs that span the political spectrum.
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WE as a district honor all viewpoints to the extent that they do not promote hate, racism or discrimination of any kind. As outlined in our district’s Educational Equity Policy, equity in education is about inclusiveness and social justice regarding race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, immigration status, language, family economics, age, culture, geographic location, mobility, gender, sexual orientation, gender equity, gender expression, disability and initial proficiencies.

WE believe that Black Lives Matter.

WE believe that “Black Lives Matter” is fundamentally an affirmative social justice statement that aligns with our commitment to students — Black, Brown, indigenous and other students of color — who have been historically underserved by the American educational system. It’s an acknowledgment of the disparities in our own system (i.e. graduation and discipline rates) that suggest our district has not served these students well. It’s also a way to hold our district accountable for improving students’ experiences moving forward.

WE do not endorse any organized group or political campaign.

WE support the State Board of Education’s recent passage of the Oregon Department of Education administrative rule referred to as All Students Belong. It focuses on the health and safety of students and educators by creating a more inclusive school climate. It also bans symbols of hate — including the swastika, noose and Confederate flag — from schools.

WE believe that public schools have the ability to promote tolerance of underrepresented people without giving equal time to intolerance and can specifically prohibit students and educators from using hate language or displaying hate symbols, as discussed in our Student Code of Conduct.
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WE are committed to becoming an anti-racist school district by providing a culturally relevant, responsive and inclusive environment for all students, especially our most marginalized.

WE will be engaging in this work at every grade level in our district, starting with our youngest learners. In the coming weeks, our K-2 students will be introduced to the concepts of identity, diversity, race and racism in an age-appropriate curriculum aligned with the Oregon K-12 Social Sciences Academic Content Standards, K-5 Social Studies Essential Questions and Oregon Ethnic Studies Standards (draft). This work continues in social studies classes at the upper grades, as we foster important conversations and create safe spaces for students to make sense of the world around them. For example, we’re living through one of the largest social movements in the history of our nation. To not allow students to discuss what they’re seeing in the Black Lives Matter and related social movements — as well as the various responses to those movements — would be a lost opportunity to engage in real-time, authentic learning.

WE are committed to providing an environment in all our classrooms — including those outside of social studies content areas — for students to learn from diverse perspectives and take action to promote equity inside and outside our schools.

WE understand that these conversations are not occasions to promote or advocate personal values or beliefs regarding politics, religion or other cultural issues. Our role as educators is to facilitate conversations about issues in a tolerant and inclusive environment as described in School Board Policy INB.
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WE want our classrooms — whether physical or virtual — to be welcoming spaces to all students. We recognize that students have a right to freedom of expression, as long as that expression isn’t substantially disruptive to the educational environment and doesn’t infringe on the rights of others to access their education.

Staff should be aware of the impact that their personal behavior and expression may have on their students and their students’ willingness to engage in discussion, especially when viewpoints differ. As educators, we want to promote — not squelch — discourse.

Here are examples of what is allowed:

  • Staff can wear Black Lives Matter-branded clothing or buttons on their physical persons or on their personal virtual avatars. Staff can display Black Lives Matter-branded signs or flags, whether physical or virtual.

  • Staff can wear clothing or buttons on their physical persons or on their personal virtual avatars that support LGBTQ rights. Staff can display Pride-related signs or flags, whether physical or virtual.

  • Staff can wear clothing or buttons on their physical persons or on their personal virtual avatars that endorse particular political candidates or parties or display a campaign slogan, per Oregon Administrative Rule ORS 260.432.

  • Other forms of personal expression in classrooms may potentially be allowed to the extent that they don’t create a substantial disruption to the educational environment.

  • Staff can make posts on personal social media accounts and comments on other social media accounts that represent their own views and opinions. Such posts and comments must be made during non-work hours. However, staff members should use caution when making such posts, as it could impair their abilities to perform their jobs if the content of those posts substantially disrupts the work environment.

Here are examples of what is not allowed:

  • Symbols or images of a swastika, noose or Confederate flag, per the State Board of Education’s administrative rule, All Students Belong.

  • Symbols of white supremacy or hate

  • Staff can not wear or display slogans that support or encourage exclusion, such as “Build the Wall.”

  • Staff can not display campaign posters or signs endorsing particular candidates or parties in their classrooms or workspaces, whether physical or virtual.

  • Staff can not originate posts on school or district social media accounts that represent their own political views and opinions.

  • Staff can not alter their standardized district email signatures to include any slogans, ideology or philosophical statements.

If you have a question or concern regarding district policy, please email David Williams, Executive Administrator for Strategic Initiatives at

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WE are striving to be an anti-racist district where all students and staff feel welcomed, valued and heard. By providing factual information, encouraging constructive dialogue and creating safe spaces, our students will be able to exercise their critical thinking skills to make their own informed decisions.

WE thank you for partnering with us in this important work.

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Beaverton School District

The District prohibits discrimination and harassment based on any basis protected by law, including but not limited to, an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, familial status, economic status, veteran status or because of a perceived or actual association with any other persons within these protected classes.