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Law & Courts News in Brief

Pa. Lawmaker Wants to Ban Class Talk on Civics, Government, and Politics

By Tribune News Service — September 25, 2018 1 min read

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing passage of a bill that would rewrite free speech rules in schools by banning discussions centered around modern-day civics, politics, and science in classrooms.

Will Tallman this month sent a memo to the 203-member state House seeking support for the bill he dubbed the “Teacher Code of Ethics,” which legal experts questioned as unconstitutional overreach.

In the memo, the Republican said his bill would forbid public school teachers from endorsing, supporting, or opposing candidates or incumbents for local, state, and federal offices while in the classroom. On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders, or court cases involving any level or branch of government. They could not talk about activities “that hamper or impede” law-enforcement actions or military recruiters on campus.

According to the memo, teachers could not “introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught or advocate for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level.”

Teachers who broke the would-be law could be suspended or lose their state teachers license.

A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2018 edition of Education Week as Pa. Lawmaker Wants to Ban Class Talk on Civics, Government, and Politics

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