AUGUSTA – Rep.
Larry Lockman does not want Maine’s public school teachers to push their
political ideology on their students, so he has introduced a bill that would
allow teachers to be punished if they push their political ideology in the
Rep. Lockman says the attention the bill has garnered in the media so far has triggered an outpouring of support from across the state.
He says that parents he is hearing from are very concerned about political indoctrination of their children in the classroom, “Parents are thanking me for sponsoring the bill, and telling me that Maine has a real problem with teachers pushing partisan politics in the classroom. It’s happening across the state, and it needs to stop,” said Rep. Lockman.
The bill Rep. Lockman is introducing prohibits teachers from endorsing candidates for political office or advocating for or against pending legislation. It also requires teachers to introduce materials representing “both sides” of controversial issues and to present them in a fair minded, non-partisan manner.
Lockman’s proposal also sets restrictions on teachers who try to impede military recruiters from talking to students, and a few other points.
The bill directs the Maine State Board
of Education to adopt substantive rules to address the issue, including regular
training for teachers.
Some public school teachers and
administrators were quick to claim the mantle of the First Amendment to oppose Lockman’s
Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana cited the First Amendment in opposing Lockman’s bill while retweeting a Casco Bay High School teacher:
But in several online primers and statements, the ACLU says that teachers do not retain their First Amendment rights in their most robust form inside the classroom, citing at least one example that is also in Rep. Lockman’s bill as a scenario where a teacher would not be protected by the First Amendment.
Rep. Lockman says he hopes that parents from across Maine will make their voices heard in the public hearing, and that if his bill passes, classrooms will be more fair, more focused and give both sides of important issues a fair hearing.
if parents want to share their thoughts with the Legislature’s Education
Committee before the public hearing, they can email their thoughts to: EDU@legislature.maine.gov
where the Education Committee clerk will provide their testimony to the
also has several cosponsors:
Rep. Amy Arata of New Gloucester Rep. Richard Bradstreet of Vassalboro Rep. Richard Campbell of Orrington Sen. Stacey Guerin of Penobscot County Rep. Beth O’Connor of Berwick Rep. Michael Perkins of Oakland