Four flags flew over the San Diego Unified School District’s headquarters Tuesday -- two in honor of Pride Month.
“It’s not enough but it’s a first step,” smiled Mission Bay High School Sophomore Chelsea Long.
For all of June in honor, the familiar rainbow pride flag and the increasingly familiar blue, pink, and white transgender flag will fly right underneath the Red, White and Blue and the bear-emblazoned California flag.
The four flags were raised Tuesday morning in a flag-raising ceremony attended by Board of Education members, educators, and city representatives.
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“When you raise a flag, it affirms to students that they matter,” said SDUSD Project Resource Teacher Maria Schembri.
The 15-year-old Long helped raise both flags.
“It felt like I’m safe. It felt like a reassurance,” said Long. “It means I can be who I am at school. It means others can be who they are at school.”
“In the past, there have been students who don’t have that freedom,” Long continued. “There are trans and gender-non-conforming students who don’t have that freedom.”
“It’s definitely getting better,” added Schembri. “There’s so much support out there now.”
Schembri works with SDUSD’s Office of Youth Advocacy. She believed putting the flags on display can help save lives.
“I believe so. I definitely believe so," Schembri said.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and SDUSD Interim Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson joined students and parents during the flag-raising ceremony. Each speaker stressed the importance of supporting students within the LGBTQ+ community, whether they’re open about their identity or too afraid to share.
“This flag means that future kids will have more space to be themselves. The box that holds kids will have fewer walls,” Long said.
This is the third year SDUSD has flown both flags beneath the national and state flags. They’ll be flown daily through the month of June.