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Officials quiet on LGBT flag

Gordon to retire at end of school year

Staff writer

“Graffiti.”

That is what Chuck Seifert, of rural Marion, called a rainbow flag painted on a parking stall at Marion High School when speaking to the Marion-Florence school board Monday.

The rainbow, a symbol of LGBT pride, was painted by Marion student Logan Waner on his senior parking spot as part of a six-year-old tradition on Sept. 26.

That same day, Seifert attended a special school board meeting where he said he wanted to complain about something on school property. He was not permitted to because he was not on the agenda, but he did speak with superintendent Aaron Homburg outside the meeting room.

Seifert had his chance to speak Monday, railing against the rainbow flag and the school board for five minutes.

“I think it was a double standard because of what happened last year,” Seifert said.

A Confederate battle flag and marijuana leaf were allegedly painted on parking spots last year and required to be painted over. The newspaper could not confirm the accuracy of the claim with school officials.

“I thought it should have been removed because of that,” Seifert said of the perceived double standard. “That’s why I got so upset to start with.”

Principal Tod Gordon has said student designs must not be controversial, but no written policy exists on what is allowed and forbidden when painting parking spots.

Seifert lobbied for a policy of his own.

“What I’m here to advocate is, if it isn’t policy, it needs to be policy,” Seifert said. “I’m going to call it no more graffiti on public property, on school property, in Marion, Kansas, for sure.”

Confusion and controversy about the flag came the same day of Seifert’s first complaint about it, leading to wide exposure on social media and through several Wichita news outlets. Now, Seifert wants the school board to do something about the rainbow.

“Just so you all know, I’m going to be here at school board meetings until I hear you have done something to that,” Seifert said. “I think it needs to be done, it’s bad enough we have to see it on TV every night.”

He said he knows other people agree with him.

“I’m not happy and my wife’s not happy and there’s a few other people I know are not happy that just are afraid to voice their opinion,” Seifert said.

“I would assume that a few of you would agree with me,” Seifert said to the board members.

None responded.

The issue was not mentioned by anyone else, and no board members or school officials commented on it.

Seifert said he is taking a stand and encouraged school officials to do the same.

“I don’t know why somewhere we don’t stand up at the lowest form of government here, not demeaning anybody, but this is the lowest form of government in our country, is the school board,” he said. “Somewhere’s we got to stand up. They’ve taken us over, and if we don’t stand up, we’re almost a socialist nation now, and we’re getting worse every day.”

Seifert told board members he is opposed to any political statements on school parking.

“I am not a hater, I have no problem with people, I just don’t like it thrown in my face,” Seifert said. “It is a political statement, there is nothing else you can say other than it is a political statement on a corner stall next to Main St. And what I’ve noticed in the last few days, the person’s vehicle is not even parked in the stall, so that tells me he’s even pushing it further as a political statement.”

Gordon retiring

The board accepted Gordon’s retirement, effective at the end of the school year, and lauded his 28 years of service to the district.

Gordon was not present at the meeting.

“It is my desire and belief that the timing of this announcement will demonstrate my commitment to the district,” Gordon wrote in his retirement letter, “and allow the district extra time to recruit and select the best possible candidate to lead the high school.”

Gordon went on to say that he is planning to stay in Marion and stay active in the district.

Last modified Oct. 12, 2017

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