LAS VEGAS, NV (KLAS)— A Durango High School senior student speaking out after they got in trouble for bringing a pride flag to homecoming Saturday night.
“I pulled out a pride flag that was hiding in my back pocket and put it around as a cape,” Ocampo-Loresca said. “I was walking down the stairs and I was swarmed with so many students. People were just rallied around me and wanted to hear me speak and what I had to say.”
Josh Ocampo-Loresca was elected homecoming Queen who is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. After pulling out a pride flag and giving an impromptu speech, Ocampo-Loresca says that they were told it was a campus disturbance.
A mother of two Durango High School students tells 8 News Now this is unacceptable and may make other students fearful to be themselves.
“They need for somebody to love them, accept them, period. They’re beautiful as they are, every child. For you to do that, and set that back and make that kid be afraid? No. Don’t be afraid of who you are Josh. Shine,” Alexandra Lopez said.
Ocampo-Loresca says they were told prior that flags of any kind were not allowed at the school but told it was the commotion of the speech that led to them getting in trouble.
“We had a homecoming assembly last Thursday I was planning on pulling out the flag as part of my outfit but I was talked to by administrations and told not to pull it out because of any political statement it may carry,” they said. “My identity should Not be controversial in any sense of the matter, with or without the flag. I hold my chin up really high every single day.”
Their family spoke with school officials Sunday evening and Ocampo-Loresca is no longer facing any type of disciplinary action, but they feel it is important they feel comfortable at the school and that everyone is accepted for who they are.
“It’s important to us that we are able to be who we are. Not all of us students can be who we are so for those students that wear pride at school,” Alex Purdue, senior, said. “We should not be punished in any way or told that we can’t do that even if it is covered with a different narrative.”
Ocampo-Loresca plans on going back to school on Monday and says the school administration has since apologized for the “misunderstanding” on their part.
Although CCSD can not comment on individual student matters, the school district did refer 8 News Now to district policy #5131, regarding establishing a framework for dress and appearance for all CCSD school communities. The policy is listed below.
Students are entitled to express themselves in a manner consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Clark County School District does not discriminate based on the viewpoint or content of student speech. However, under state and federal law, student speech must not be disruptive of instruction or school activities, must not be used to engage in discrimination based on race, bullying or cyber-bullying or intimidate any person, and must not be organized, broadcast, or endorsed by a public school.
In addition, students may not engage in speech-related activities that may create a safety hazard.
These regulations are in place in order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment, free of distraction, for all of our students.
All District schools may take appropriate disciplinary action, including confiscating of items found to not be in compliance with this and other established policies and regulations.Clark County School District