Teachers’ Opinions No Longer Legal in Schools

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Arizona Senator Mark Finchem recently proposed a bill that would prevent teachers from advocating religion, politics, or ideological issues in the classroom.

At first, this seems like a problem for certain classes such as government, environmental science, or journalism. However, these classes can still operate under this bill. The bill doesn’t state that students can’t talk about religion, politics, or ideological issues so students would still be involved in the classroom.

The bill doesn’t state that teachers can’t talk about those issues either. It simply states that teachers need to give both sides of the story or both sides of the spectrum and aren’t allowed to portray their personal view.

Finchem stated that he got multiple phone calls from parents who complained about political messages in the classroom that were unrelated to the subject being taught. Thus, Finchem proposed this bill to ensure that taxpayer money is going toward education and not fueling political or ideological propaganda. The bill states that any teacher (at a public school) who doesn’t follow its rules can be fired.

This new bill, if passed, would also impact Montgomery County Public Schools, including Blacksburg High School. When the news reached southwest Virginia, students were quick to react.

“I experience teachers making political remarks in class frequently throughout the year. This is why I believe the bill would make an improvement in the learning environment at Blacksburg,” said John Cole, Senior.

This view isn’t shared by everyone at the school.

“I understand what this bill is trying to do, but I enjoy the political discussions we have in class because it contributes to my understanding of what goes on outside school in the real world,” said Amanda Edwards, Senior.

“This bill isn’t telling people to stop having political or ideological discussions. It is simply telling teachers to stop imposing their views on students by giving them one opinion and not the other. I think that political discussions in class are beneficial because it’s a relevant part of our future. However, they aren’t beneficial if a teacher refuses to talk about the pros of the opposing argument. Thus, I believe this bill will be beneficial,” said Vedat Dilek, Senior.

Blacksburg High School will keep its eyes peeled on the outcome of this bill because it will impact the way teachers interact with students. The bill will be voted on in 2019.