Students, flanked by parents and the community, showed up draped in rainbow flags in a deliberate protest to teachers being forced to remove Pride flags and a Black Lives Matter poster from their classrooms.
Now, dozens of people let their voices be heard at a school board meeting Monday night in Chesterton, Indiana, and the school district is also responding.
"People like me are obviously outraged by it because this is, like, who we are and it kind of feels like a personal attack," said Elsa Estridge, an 8th grader at Chesterton middle school.
In a statement, the northwest Indiana school district explained:
"The Duneland School Corporation is committed to ensuring safe, collaborative and accountable learning environments...Last week, students and parents at Chesterton Middle School expressed concerns regarding items in three classrooms that conflicted with their personal social and/or political beliefs... it was determined the items were not directly related to the curriculum for those respective classrooms... the items were asked to be removed."
"Once that was taken down, it made people feel unsafe and unwelcome," said another student.
"It's sad. It's scary. These kids are marginalized and the children that go to this school that are of color, LGBTQ kids are marginalized and they are at higher risk," said parent Nicole Brenzek.
"I don't necessarily agree with making them remove the flags, but you're not going to make everyone happy so it's hard to take a stand on a situation like that," said fellow parent Aaron Prybyloa.
In the fight for teachers to be able to return pride flags to the classrooms, students staged a walkout and voiced their displeasure to the district's school board.