SB 480 seeks to end such politicking in our schools and bring education officials and teachers into alignment with the laws other state employees already have to follow.
Well, this has upset many people. I’ve already deconstructed one op-ed which ran over at the education PR firm, EducationNC. Well, here comes another one.
The imagined example of SB 480 in action is in a blog post ‘Women Advance’ written by Melissa Geil; It is pure fiction with the intent of stirring up hysteria.
The title is, ‘NC Bill Could Send Teachers to Jail For Wearing a Red Shirt‘.
Here’s the opening of the article, where the article’s title is literally derived from.
Your child sits in their high school 10th grade Civics and Economics class. The teacher, dressed in a red shirt, is teaching North Carolina state learning competency goal #4: “the learner will explore active roles as a citizen at the local, state, and national levels of government.”
The door opens, and two police officers enter. They place the teacher under arrest.
Lawmakers are considering this law, which would effectively serve as a “gag rule” during work hours for teachers, superintendents, and principals, and would forbid them from “engaging in political activity… while on duty.” Violation “shall be a Class 1 Misdemeanor.”
I’m talking about the use of ridiculous hyperbole to hide the massive logic fail on the part of the author.
SB 480 is very specific in its language. Simply wearing red isn’t going to cut it and Geil knows it. This is just an inflammatory lede to get as many eyes on her article as possible because… outrage! Free Speech! ZOMG! SB 480 is eeeeeeeevil! Rabble.. rabble…
Let’s look at being arrested for ‘wearing red’ through the hypocrisy lens. How about all the kids sent home for violating dress codes? Is this suppressing their free speech?
The article continues; emphasis is mine:
In theory, the law makes sense. You want the employees of the local school boards to be doing the work that they are paid to do; you do not want them doing other jobs while they are supposed to be teaching. But this law isn’t making it a crime for someone to teach and simultaneously promote their lawn care business (which we also don’t want). The law makes it a crime when that “other activity” is political.
Let me ask a few questions of Ms. Geil.
Are laws just for the little people, Ms. Geil?
Are educators and education officials somehow a special class of citizen or elite class of state employee?
Do you suppose all parents are just fine with a teacher promoting their political views in the classroom?
Do you believe it is ok to be using the taxpayer dime to conduct political related activities on campus and do so using taxpayer funded resources?