AUSTIN (KXAN) — The board of trustees for Wimberley ISD announced Wednesday during a public meeting that they will stop taking legal action against parents who display a rainbow variant of the Wimberley Texans logo which shows support for LGBTQ students.
Several parents modified the Wimberley Texans logo, replacing a red and white flag with a rainbow one, to help support Wimberley’s LGBTQ students and the city’s first ever Pride March in September 2019.
The images were posted on social media and put on T-shirts for the march. In response, the district threatened legal action against parents if they didn’t take down the altered logo by January 2020. The ACLU stepped in and wrote a letter to the school district urging them to stop the threat of legal action immediately and retract the original letter.
In a special public meeting that took place over Zoom Wednesday, the Wimberley ISD Board of Trustees announced the ending of its legal action against the parents.
“We have carefully watched and listened to many of our citizens over the past few months. We have had these issues legally vetted from many different aspects and taken sensible consideration of our district’s time, resources, and taxpayer’s dollars. After this thorough evaluation, we believe we have come to a point of better clarity and wish to articulate our position to our administration and community,” the board said in a statement.
The board of trustees said that they believe the WISD logo is a protected trademark of the district and they are within their rights to defend their trademark. However, despite that, the Board stated that due to limited resources and time they would drop the legal charges to focus on more pressing matters, particularly those surrounding the current pandemic.
“I am so proud of the outcome we achieved! The WISD school board has confirmed LGBTQ students, allies, and parents may use the Texan Pride rainbow logo without fear of repercussion,” said Bryan Burke, the WISD parent who filed grievance.
“However, the First Amendment has always supported this type of expression and it is disappointing that the district didn’t recognize this from the beginning. For me, this effort has been about supporting my daughter’s pride and that of the other students in the school. This was an issue worth fighting for, and without the ACLU of Texas and the support of others, assaults on civil liberties by those in power would go unabated.”
Lawyer for the ACLU of Texas Brian Klosterboer said that while this is a victory for the parents and his client, he feels let down by the board’s initial choice.
“We are disappointed by the decision of the board, especially the fact that they did not fully grapple with how the district’s actions chilled people’s First Amendment rights. But this is also a victory for Wimberley parents, who will now be able to use the altered LGBTQ Pride logo without any repercussion,” said Klosterboer.
“As this unprecedented school year ends, LGBTQ students in Wimberley and their allies can at least know they don’t have to bear the added challenge of fearing legal action for a simple – and legally protected – act of free expression.”
Watch the full Wimberley ISD board of trustees meeting below: