Pride banners

A slashed banner for the upcoming 406 Pride event hangs on the fence at Daylis Stadium at Billings Senior High on Tuesday. The banner, as well as the banner on the east fence of Lewis and Clark Middle School, were vandalized.

Billings Public Schools will stop allowing signs from outside groups to be hung on school grounds in the wake of vandalism of 406 Pride banners displayed at schools.

The temporary ban will begin Oct. 1, Superintendent Greg Upham said at Monday’s school board meeting, to allow for a review of the district’s signage policy.

Existing policy requires that signs be submitted to the district for review and approval, and that groups that can post signs are limited to school contractors, parent-teacher organizations, government agencies, and “nonprofit organizations that benefit students.”

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In practice, “we found that it was fairly inconsistent,” Upham said. School officials sometimes were unaware of signs hung on school property.

That appeared to be the case for the 406 Pride banners, which were hung at West and Senior high schools and Lewis and Clark Middle School. Banners at Senior High and Lewis and Clark were vandalized, and a banner at West was stolen.

406 Pride is a registered nonprofit that advocates for Billings’ LGTBQ Community. The banners advertised a pride festival that occurred earlier in September.

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