Prep to raise the Pride flag

Passaic Preparatory Academy will become the first school in the Passaic Public Schools District to raise the rainbow LGBTQ+ Pride flag.

The flag will be raised in front of Prep on Tuesday, June 1 in recognition of Pride month. Pride month is celebrated in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, in which patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, clashed with police over discriminatory laws.

The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and feature several student speakers.

Prep senior Michelle Carpinteyro spearheaded the project.

“Creating a more accepting community is what drove me to begin this initiative,” she said. “I am glad to have met a loving and accepting community in the GSA (Prep’s Gay Straight Alliance) who worked hard to raise the flag. I am happy to say that Prep is the first school to show its solidarity towards the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Carpinteyro also is fighting to raise the flag at Passaic City Hall. She hopes that Prep’s flag raising will encourage other public institutions to raise it as well.

Among those impressed with Prep’s commitment to this community is Mr. Figueroa, Prep history teacher and head of the Student Council and Gay Straight Alliance.

“In all my years of teaching, I never thought I’d be part of such a historic event in the Passaic School District,” he said. “The LGBTQ+ pride flag is a symbol of solidarity, inclusion, and acceptance. Flying the flag outside Passaic Preparatory Academy will speak volumes to the students, staff, and the community. It proudly states (or symbolizes) that Prep will provide a safe, welcoming, and accepting environment for all students—especially our students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Many students expressed that the flag raising will show that Prep is an inclusive environment.

“As a pansexual student at Prep, to me, this represents inclusiveness,” Prep freshman Jeilyn Rivera said. “I take extreme pride in being able to say my school has raised the Pride flag and stepped up.” 

Other students shared that the school is a perfect place to raise the rainbow flag.

“Raising the flag at Prep will encourage students to feel comfortable in their environment,” Prep junior Nashly Moya said. “This event will be a demonstration that their school/district is willing to publicly showcase their support for the LGTBQ+ community. School should be a place of learning and self-discovery and I believe that raising the pride flag on June 1 will allow LGTBQ+ students and allies to feel comfortable and supported in their learning environment.”

The event is limited to students in Prep’s Gay Straight Alliance Club and Student Council due to Covid-19 restrictions. The flag will remain raised for the entire month of June.