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NEA Legal & Employment Guidance

Educator Rights to Create an Inclusive Classroom

Educators often use decorations to set the tone for their classrooms, school buses, lunchrooms, and other workspaces.
a black girl hangs a poster with a rainbow that says love on it
Published: April 5, 2023
This resource originally appeared on

Educators often use decorations to set the tone for their classrooms, school buses, lunchrooms, and other workspaces. You can use your work environment to show support for students of all backgrounds—for example, by hanging a Black Lives Matter poster or Pride flag or making clear that you will use a student’s personal gender pronouns.

However, schools can control these messages, which are on school property and part of a teacher’s job. And displays that include religious, political, or controversial messages raise particular concerns and you should not post them unless there is a clear district policy allowing those or similar displays.

“When someone doesn’t learn about LGBTQ topics in school, they’re not going to think of this community as a common, expected part of society—and this goes on to form their ideas of what’s socially acceptable.”  

—Samuel Long, a Denver high school teacher

This page is intended to provide general information. For specific advice, you should always contact your local union or attorney. 

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Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union committed to the cause of providing the basic right of great public education to every student. OEA represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges. OEA’s membership includes licensed teachers and specialists, classified/education support professionals (ESPs), community college faculty, retired educators, and student members. OEA members also belong to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA).