Pride flag murals at Castro Valley schools cause opposing rallies, gain national attention

The idea for the murals began as a student-led initiative, in efforts to make schools inclusive and safe a place for everyone.

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Thursday, September 15, 2022
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As a series of progress pride flag murals are being painted on Castro Valley school grounds, opposing sides came out to rally Tuesday afternoon.

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Opposing sides came out to rally outside the offices of the Castro Valley Unified School District Wednesday.

The cause?

A series of progress pride flag murals that are being painted on the grounds of every school in the district.

"All this project is about is about creating a safer school environment for every kid," said Austin Brucker of Castro Valley Pride.

The idea for the murals began as a student-led initiative - and the school board approved the plan earlier this year.

Supporters say they'll be a sign that the district is an inclusive and safe place for everyone.

Especially during a time when many in the LGBTQ community feel like they're under political attack.

"I'd say like 80% of the school is supportive. Like, very supportive," said student, Nolan Stoneburner.

The murals have gained national attention in recent days after the story got picked up by multiple right wing outlets.

"For the past week, the school district as well as Castro Valley Pride, have been the direct targets of hundreds and hundreds of hateful comments and emails and calls," said Bruckner.

RELATED: School mental health resources essential in decreasing high risk of suicide among LGBTQ+ youth

But those who came out to protest the murals tell ABC7 News, they're not trying to foster a non-inclusive or homophobic environment.

"I teach my kids to be kind to everyone, love everyone, even if you don't agree," said Cassandra Wright.

Wright has three young children in the district.

She believes that topics like sexual orientation and gender identity are subjects that should be talked about in the home and not in schools.

"I feel like we've been forced to talk to our kids, our young children especially about things we aren't ready to talk to them about," Wright said.

RELATED: Mysterious flyers asking to boycott Progress Pride Flag posted around SF's Castro District

The protest's organizer, who identified herself as Jackie but didn't want to show her face on camera, said she's received dozens of message of support.

That includes from those who weren't present at Wednesday's rally.

"A lot of these parents don't want this in the classroom. I do realize that some staff and some children are scared to stand on our side because they don't know what will happen to them," Jackie said.

We did reach out to the Castro Valley Unified School District about tonight's protest, but hadn't heard back by the time of publication.

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