By Dr. Rich Swier
“Teachers retain their rights as citizens in a public school environment, but those rights are altered. Public school teachers enjoy, for example, the right to freedom of expression, but they cannot promote a personal political agenda in the classroom. Teachers also enjoy freedom of association, privacy, and a limited right to academic freedom. Finally, teachers not only need to be aware of how the law affects them, they also need to know how the law impacts their students.” – Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship
There has been growing concern about what is happening in public school classrooms nationwide. Parents are beginning to take note of what subjects are being taught in public schools, what books are being used by classroom teachers, what books are in school libraries and media centers and what clubs are being promoted by school administrators.
There is also a growing concern that there is a lot of mis, dis and mal-information being promoted in public schools. The most recent examples include:
- All Oregon public schools must now, by law, declare the right to ‘menstrual dignity, sanitary protection’ by putting tampons in boys bathrooms.
- A transgender teacher in Massachusetts told kindergartners and first- and second graders that doctors only guess whether new-born babies are boys or girls and, sometimes, they’re wrong.
- The Maryland Department of Education is telling schools to teach alternative LGBT family structures and gender fluidity to preschoolers.
- A suburban school official in Kansas City claimed kindergartners are identifying as transgender and should be taught all about it.
- Schools in Evanston, Illinois are teaching preschoolers to break the ‘gender binary’ established by ‘white colonizers’, to celebrate the transgender flag, and to experiment with made-up pronouns like ‘ze’ and ‘zir’.
- Washington, D.C. schools gave 4-year-olds the ‘anti-racism’ ‘Fist Book’ which asks them to “identify racist family members.”
And on and on and on.
Teachers teaching dis, mis and mal-information
There is a growing concern that dis, mis and mal-information has creeped into public school classrooms. So much so that the Florida legislature passed a bill preventing mis, dis and mal-information in elementary schools.
Parents, grandparents and interested organizations are now focused on having children in public schools be taught only the critical personal skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. Only a solid foundation in reading, writing and cyphering will make our next generation successful citizens. However, Florida’s Department of Education recently removed 41% of mathematics books because they contained mis, dis and mal-information.
It would seem obvious that it is not the role of school teachers, or librarians, to:
- Lie to students by teaching dis, mis or mal-information.
- Use textbooks that promote an ideology versus the truth.
- Have books in libraries and media centers that are pornographic, not age appropriate or promote homosexuality.
- Push a particular political position in the classroom.
- Reject science in favor of global warming disinformation in the classroom.
- Fail to teach a child to read, write and cypher.
We decided to look at what the rules are for teachers to not teach dis, mis or mal-information in the classroom because Amber Mercier a gay teacher in Florida said she is willing to break the law and keep hiding sexual information about students from their parents even if she loses her job and gets thrown in jail for it.
We are concerned because PJMedia reported, “There is a disturbing trend of public schools actively keeping secrets from parents, which has led to suicide attempts and harm to children.”
Sarasota County School Board
We decided to look at our local Sarasota County School Board, their Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Sarasota County Schools Employee Handbook for information on holding teachers and administrators accountable for promoting mis, dis and mal-information upon K-12 students.
The only thing we found was in Chapter II – Being a School Employee of the handbook:
Florida Statute 104.31 and School Board policies 2.51 and 6.34 govern political activities of school public employees. Some things to remember are:
(1) Political posters shall not be displayed in schools
(2) Political literature shall not be distributed in schools or on school property
(3) Solicitations for votes or contributions shall not be conducted in schools or on school property
(4) Students shall not be required to distribute campaign literature
(5) Employees shall refrain from participation in partisan politics on school property during the hours school is in session
School Board employees shall not solicit support of any political candidate, partisan or nonpartisan, during regular work hours. A School Board employee who offers him/herself as a candidate for public office shall notify the Superintendent immediately upon qualifying for election. He/she shall conduct his/her campaign so as not to interfere with his/her responsibilities. Personal leave without pay may be taken during the campaign period.
We noted that the Sarasota County School Board uses the word “refrain.” The word refrain is defined as “stop oneself from doing something.” It implies that teachers, librarians and school administrators self-govern themselves when it comes to promoting mis, dis and mal-information.
The following questions came to mind:
- Who is ensuring teachers, school staff and administrations are refraining?
- What is considered political literature?
We also found this on the Sarasota County School District’s Human Resources website page:
Equity Procedures for Employees/Applicants/Students
The Sarasota County School Board prohibits discrimination in its educational programs, services or activities, or employment conditions or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national origin, genetic information, marital status, qualified disability defined under the ADAAA, or on the basis of the use of a language other than English, except as provided by law. The Sarasota County School Board also ensures equal access to school facilities for the Boy Scouts of America and other patriotic youth groups. Any person who believes he or she has experienced any such prohibited discrimination may file a complaint with the district Equity Coordinator Al Harayda by calling (941) 927-9000, ext. 31217, or writing him at 1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34231.
Equity coordinator? Really? When we asked Craig Maniglia, Director Communications and Community Relations, how many non-binary, cis-gender, gender-queer, lesbian, gay or bisexual teachers and staff in the district he wrote, “Dr. Swier, We do not track that information.” Hmmmmm.
Contacting the Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools
We decided to contact Dr. Brennan Asplen the Superintendent of Sarasota County Public Schools. His office referred us to Craig Maniglia, Director Communications and Community Relations. We both called and emailed Mr. Maniglia our questions.
Here are the questions we asked the Sarasota County School District to answer:
- What action is taken if these individuals don’t refrain?
- What is the policy on teachers lying to their students?
- What is the policy on teachers teaching a political agenda in the classroom?
- What is the policy on librarians and teachers obtaining recommending or using pornographic materials or age inappropriate material in libraries and the classroom?
- What is the policy on librarians ordering pornographic or age inappropriate materials?
- What is the policy on suspending or firing teachers for doing any of the above?
- What is the policy of suspending or firing librarians for doing any of the above?
- What is the role of the school principal and superintendent in supervising these activities and where can I find them in School policies?
- Who specifically is responsible for policing the use of age inappropriate or pornographic materials in schools and libraries?
- Has the School Board or any school hosted an “Anti-Racism Fight Club” presentation by Doyin Richards? Does the district have in its classrooms or libraries the “Fist Book“?
- What after school clubs approved by staff, are promoting political agendas?
We also asked Mr. Maniglia to provide references to School Board policies and documents to address each of these questions.
We are waiting for Mr. Maniglia’s replies and when we have them we will update this column.
Parents are challenging books in school libraries and classrooms in record numbers. They’re objecting to sexually explicit content, profanity, anti-police messaging, and other left-wing indoctrination found in schoolbooks. The most-challenged books are “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy”, the latter a gay story normalizing sex acts between 4th-graders which has been criticized for encouraging pedophilia.
Understand that mis, dis and mal-information is propaganda writ large. Those teaching, promoting or ignoring this do so at the risk of harming children. It is child abuse!
We hope that the Sarasota County School Board, the Superintendent, principals, assistant principals, district staff all take notice.
©Dr. Rich Swier, Ed.D. All rights reserved.
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