MS Teams / Zoom Virtual Protest

Students can display the signs below as profile picture or as background to protest the ongoing school closures and demand their reopening.

Display these signs is protected as free speech. However some may disagree with them in the school context. We provide talking points and standard messages to help navigate these issues.

Use this sign to replace your profile picture.

Use this sign to replace your profile picture.

Use this sign as background in MS Teams or Zoom.

The text is pushed to the sides to leave room for your face in the center.

Standard email to inform the teacher

Dear teacher XXX,

My child is currently enrolled in your class [name of the class]. Unfortunately, the current school closures has taken a toll on her/his mental and physical health, and she/he wants to express her/his support for returning to school, engage with her/his peers and study in-person.

We have discussed the matter together, and she/he wants to use her/his MS Teams profile and background pictures to express her/his demands. My child understands that she/he has a constitutional right to freedom of speech which extends to schools. This right is also recognized by BSD policy No. 4060.

I have decided to support my child's actions in this matter and find it encouraging that young minds exert their civil liberties. I hope that you understand the motivations behind these actions and that you will also support them.

[Optional language for strike]

Additionally, to support this movement XYZ will not be attending online sessions Monday January 4, 2021 as a virtual strike. She will also maintain the "SchoolIsEssential" profile picture and Teams background in support of fully reopening schools as part of this protest.

[End optional strike language]

I remain at your disposal should you wish to discuss the situation.

Best regards,


Standard response to picture take down request

I have received your request to take down the picture or background I display on my MS Teams profile to demand the re-opening of Bellevue schools so that I can attend school and study in person.

I possess a constitutional right to freedom of speech. This right is guaranteed through the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, sections 5 and 11 of the Washington state Constitution.

The Washington State legislature has also recognized (Findings—1998 c 131 [1]) that these rights extend to students enrolled in the common schools in our state, and that students may choose to exercise these rights, as protected under the law, in response to the challenges of academic pursuit.

The Bellevue School District also recognizes these rights and states in its Policy No. 4060 - Freedom of Expression: "Students have certain constitutional rights to express their opinions at school orally, symbolically and in writing. [...] Students shall be allowed to wear buttons, badges, arm bands and other insignia as a form of expression." [2]

Given the current school closures and the use of MS Teams as the only medium to interact with others in the school context, I am free to use my profile picture and my background picture to express my demands for Bellevue schools to reopen. In addition these pictures meet the standards required by the school policy No. 4060, hence there is no ground to compel their removal.

Best regards,