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Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

House Holds Bill To Restrict Schools Comments On Elections

[Editor: We've seen this countless times.  Government agencies and employees using resources that belong to the taxpayer to advance their own political agenda, often during work hours and at their work facilities.  Lines have become totally blurred between public and private activities to the point that bureaucrats can no longer distinguish what is theirs and what belongs to the taxpayer. 

Government agencies do not have any money of their own.  They don't produce a product or a service to sell in order to bring income into the agency.  ALL monies that flow into agencies are monies extracted from taxpayers.  All resources, including hard assets like desks and paper clips as well as soft assets like data and information belong to we the people.  These assets are handed to bureaucrats to accomplish the true stated goal of the agency.  In the realm of schools, that means school employees may not use these assets to advance their political agenda, they may not use their students as pawns in political games, they may not proselytize their agenda to kids or parents or the public on school time or at all to those whose relationship they enjoy only because of the work relationship they have with parents, students and the public.

Over the past several decades, this has become so incrementally habitual, these folks have forgotten, if they ever knew, that this is highly inappropriate but it is now the norm.  Taking away these privileges is not a gag-order, telling them to shut-up or denying them free speech.  It is removing vulnerable students and parents from the propaganda mill.]

A bill that would restrict school officials' ability to comment on political issues, including elections and legislation, was put on hold Tuesday as opposition to the measure continued to grow.

"It is perceived by my parents at the seven school districts in my legislative district as a gag order," Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, said of Senate Bill 1172.

"And whether it is or isn't, it has that feeling or that look, and that's how it's being perceived."

School employees are already prohibited from using school resources to advocate for issues such as override elections, and this bill would add e-mails from school accounts to that ban. School employees who violate the ban could face a fine of up to $5,000.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, said in a letter to a constituent that the bill doesn't prevent educators from sharing "factual information in a neutral manner. ... However, advocating for or against a measure on an election ballot is, indeed, political activity and that is prohibited if using school resources paid for by taxpayer dollars."

An amendment by Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, added e-mails to the prohibition against political speech.


Editorial: Telling schools to 'shut up' is boneheaded
Even in an era in which everything seems politicized in one way or another, there ought to be limits on how public employees use public resources for electioneering.

Is it appropriate, for example, for the superintendents of school districts to use their district's information databases as campaign tools?

ROBERTS: Memo from Legislature to schools: SHUT UP - or else!

MONTINI: Legislators want to gag school officials

State lawmakers, with some justice, believe it isn't. But their proposed solution may make a lot of legitimate school-parent communication illegal.

During the debate over proposed cuts to K-12 education, several superintendents launched a campaign directed at district parents decrying the budget proposed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Superintendent Michael Cowan of Mesa Public Schools urged parents in a letter to contact Ducey, as well as their local legislator, to register objections.


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