Portland’s Board of Education approved a resolution Tuesday night condemning a string of hate crimes that police say appear to have been targeted at members of the LGBTQ community.

Last month, approximately seven residents in Portland and South Portland who are gay or were flying Pride flags received threatening letters with a Satanic Temple logo superimposed over a Pride Flag followed by a threatening homophobic slur.

In the resolution, the board expressed solidarity with LGBTQ+ students, staff and families and said it is committed to rooting out homophobia in schools as well as incorporating LGBTQ+ history, culture and identity into the curriculum.

“To every LGBTQ+ student in Portland Public Schools, I want to say that, from my seat as a leader and an ally, I commit to protecting and celebrating you and your family,” board Chair Emily Figdor said in a statement released by the school district.

During the discussion of the resolution, Figdor read a statement in which she came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the release from the school district said.

“While I have not been public about it before, I want to share tonight that I am gay,” Figdor said. “I am proud of who I am and proud to be sharing this part of my identity with the community of those I serve in my role as chair of the school board.”


The board’s resolution states that the hate crimes “are causing LGBTQ+ students, staff and families to experience fear and trauma in addition to the daily and ongoing bigotry and threats that these members of our community experience. And we recognize that, for our Black, Indigenous, and other students, staff and families of color, these impacts are compounded by the racism inherent in our institutions, including in our schools.”

Following the board’s vote, Superintendent Xavier Botana announced that the Pride flag would be flown at all of the school district’s buildings for the month of February and again in June.

The Portland City Council signed a statement last month condemning the homophobic letters, urging residents to fly Pride flags in a display of solidarity.

“Hate and discrimination have no place in our community,” Mayor Kate Snyder said at the meeting. “Acts of cowardice, intent on causing fear and division, cannot be tolerated by any one of us.”

Lt. Robert Martin, spokesman for the Portland Police Department, said Tuesday evening that authorities continue to investigate the homophobic letters.

“Unfortunately, no progress has been made yet,” Martin said in an email, adding that there been no new reports of homophobic letters being circulated in the city.

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