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Bill seeks to limit teachers’ political activities

A bill filed this week by Sens. Wells, Brock, Wade and Soucek would limit school employees’ political activities — and while it only pertains to what teachers can and can’t do during working hours, some are concerned the bill could keep teachers from speaking out altogether on issues they care about.

“I think it could have a chilling effect,” said Guilford County Spanish teacher Todd Warren in an interview with the Greensboro News & Record on Thursday. “Teachers aren’t the most politically active people anyway, but right now there are a lot of people who are afraid for their jobs if they speak out on some of these issues. This could just make that worse.”

Senate Bill 480 would disallow school employees from working on political campaigns during working hours, use the authority of his or her position to secure support or opposition for a political candidate, and use public funds to these ends.

Senator Wells told the News & Record that the bill is intended to make a uniform policy applicable to all school employees regarding when and how they can or cannot engage in political activities. Many local school boards already employ various kinds of similar policies but they all differ in scope.

“What [school employees] do on their own time is their right and their business,” Wells said. “But what they do when they’re being paid to be working and what they do with public facilities and resources, we should have one set of rules for that.”

Read the full story over at the News & Record, and tell me what you think of this bill in the comments.

*This post was corrected to reflect that the story referenced first appeared in the Greensboro News & Record, not the Winston-Salem Journal.

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