The best teachers make you think, but you don’t really know what they think or where they stand.
Especially about politics.
Recent headlines outlined how a Calhoun High School teacher posed for a photo with students holding a Donald Trump campaign flag. The teacher then posted a photo to her Facebook page before deleting it shortly after.
Calhoun district officials said the incident violated policies regarding political neutrality – because the teacher tagged the Calhoun Cheer Facebook page in the post “and employees cannot associate the school or a school-sponsored group in political matters.”
The school district handled the situation correctly, standing behind, and enforcing, its policy. We commend the district for that.
Calhoun Assistant Superintendent Kelly Taylor told the Advocate that students are encouraged to read, think and develop their own opinion, but employees are not allowed to take political stances with students regardless of the candidate or political party, she said.
“It is not the role of a teacher to impose political opinions on children,” Taylor said. “Political views are to remain private.”
Nonetheless, the incident sparked debate locally and mostly along party lines. Like a lot of debate on social media these days, it wasn’t pretty or nice.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t a blue vs. red issue.
The photo showed a Trump campaign flag; however, the issue would be troublesome whether it was a Beto O’Rourke or any other political candidate sign.
The truth is, politics will demand our attention, dominating the national news over the next year.
We won’t be able to escape the onslaught, especially since it will be a presidential election year.
So educators, please teach our children how to be critical thinkers and to be voracious readers.
But leave the politics at home.