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Chula Vista Elementary School District votes to raise the Pride flag

The Pride flag waves on a pole at the Chula Vista Elementary School District, June 1, 2023.
Marielena Castellanos
The Pride flag waves on a pole at the Chula Vista Elementary School District, June 1, 2023.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District voted Wednesday in favor of a resolution to raise the Pride flag at the district office and take measures to support inclusivity and equality for students. The vote came just one day before the start of Pride Month.

The 4-1 vote in favor of raising the Pride flag came one week after a similar measure failed to pass, as school board members were deadlocked on the issue and ended with a 2-2 vote since one member of the board was absent. President Lucy Ugarte said she was sick and was not able to attend the meeting.

Following last week's meeting, Board Vice President Francisco Tamayo, who had voted against raising the flag, proposed bringing the measure back this week, expressing concerns about comments made by members of the public during last week's school board meeting.


In a post on Facebook, Tamayo wrote, “the amount of hate speech, threats, and intimidation that were directed towards our teachers, parents, and students was highly concerning,” and he called for a special meeting on Wednesday to “send a powerful message to the community.”

Several speakers at the Wednesday meeting were upset that the measure was brought back for reconsideration.

The new resolution increased the number of times the flag would be flown including during Pride Month in June, but also on May 22, which is Harvey Milk Day, and during October in observance of LGBTQ+ History Month.

It also directs the superintendent to "create a working group with staff and students that would raise the LGBTQIA+ voices," and "implement measures across the District to prevent hate and threats to all students, staff, and families."

Trustee Delia Dominguez Cervantes cast the single vote against the measure Wednesday. Dominguez Cervantes said she supports everything in the resolution except raising the Pride flag, “because it does not represent the whole community.”


“I want all children to be represented, every single one of them. They’re all coming with their specific issues, children of divorced parents, victims of sexual abuse they come to school very quiet, students that come to school hungry, students physically abused," Dominguez Cervantes said. "My position is if everyone treats every single child as the special child that they are, with love and care and if there is an issue identified and we can refer them to the proper individuals, then we will have done our jobs.”

Last week's and this week's school board meetings drew speakers, both in favor and against raising the Pride flag, and speakers weighed in with passion on both sides of the issue.

Some who spoke against raising the flag felt the American flag and the California flag were enough to represent everyone. Some expressed concerns that topics of sexuality could make their way into the classroom in the elementary school district if the Pride flag is raised.

The resolution approved by the school board notes a lack of awareness and understanding of issues facing LGBTQ+ children and youth has contributed to higher rates of school dropout, academic failure, suicide and school disengagement.

Amy Mudd, a parent of former students at the school district who works with the TransFamily Support Services, spoke in support of raising the Pride flag and addressed struggles LGBTQ+ youth face.

“If those same youth are provided a welcoming home, a welcoming community, a place where they feel safe, those numbers reduce, to where their rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies are the same as their non-LGBTQ+ peers. By raising this flag, we're telling those students that we see them, that we love them, that we accept them,” Mudd said.

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