Policy 321 – A Neutrality Policy
Why Was Policy 321 Needed?
- Educators are not to use their position of authority to advocate for one side of a partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- Parents have raised concerns over the past decade that employees were imposing their personal and political beliefs in the classroom curriculum and in the school environment.
- Here are some examples:
- If surveyed, students would say they know the political leanings of most teachers they had throughout their academic career, and it is actively discussed among peers.
- Students use this knowledge to help each other be successful in a class or “get through it”. College focused students focus on the highest GPA possible which sometimes aligns with the teacher’s political ideology rather than learning.
- On assignments, students will often choose the perceived “correct” view of the teacher over their own in order to score well and/or improve their grade.
- A student received a poor grade on a CORE assessment after challenging the educator in class regarding their personal view instead of historical facts brought up by the student.
- Social justice topics on race, gender, abortion and political issues are frequently being added to the class assignments instead of curriculum especially in classes such as English and Social Studies where they are not part of the curriculum and don’t relate at the time.
- Extra credit if they went to the New Hope Gay Pride parade to a 7th grade class. A student asked why would extra credit be offered for such topic/event for Ancient Roman studies and the comment was not well received. After this, uncomfortable, creating a potentially hostile learning environment.
- Yearly, a class is assigned to write and defend their pro-life or anti-abortion stance. During class debate, students who are pro-life reported feeling “ganged up on” and intimidated by pro-choice classmates AND educators as well. Over 90% of the class usually chooses pro-choice because of the known views of the educator and feeling that it’s better to just go along with the vocal majority.
- Under the guise of an “ice breaker”, an educator asked the students several politically charged questions and asked them to physically stand on one side of the classroom or other based on their answers. Students were physically divided by their answers. Examples of questions were: “Would you fight for your country?”
- During a practice test for English grammar, an educator indicated that a standard grammar question was “wrong” in curriculum now because it doesn’t consider the use of pronouns. The educator indicated that the English Department was no longer teaching some grammar in curriculum, because it doesn’t align with the use of pronouns. The use of pronouns is not part of CBSD curriculum and policy.
- A book, called Among the Hidden, was given to 6th grader classroom prior to Covid. The book details a story of a country where is it illegal to have more than two children (like China). Hidden children go protest their illegal status and were massacered at the President’s House. The chapter where they were killed was assigned the week after the violent weekend of the Philadelphia riots in May 2020. A parent was told to “pick another book”.
- An educator taught a lesson about the eating grasshoppers for money vs. accolades, and when a student jokingly said for accolades in order to mess up the lesson, she pressured her to eat the grasshopper in front of the class. The student ate the bug which could have caused allergies but felt they couldn’t say no.
- An educator gave a class an article entitled “Why Trump won’t let you immigrate the the US”. A parent asked why an article on Biden wasn’t presented at the same time and whether this was a good use of English class time.
- An educator refused to say the name of a current President and only referred to them as “45”.
- Outside of classrooms, about 20 educators had LGBTQ signs that said “You Matter”. One student said to his peers, “Well I must not matter then”. The number of these signs also sent a clear message to the student body, the majority of which does not identify as LGBTQ. Students reporting having to write essays on social justice topics such as abortion, and doing so, not according to their own personal views, but to those of the teacher in order to receive a favorable grade.
Educators are not to use their position of authority to advocate for one side of a partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- Political activism is not job request or requirement; The focus should be on teaching the approved curriculum.
- Social justice and political topics can usurp or contradict the values and morals that parents are instilling at home. This can create confusion or division in the relationship between parents and their children, especially because parents are unaware that this is happening in school. The lack of transparency to parents about what is happening in school is at an all time high.
- The role of the educator is to help students learn how to think, not what to think, especially imposing their own personal beliefs.
- CBSD has many outstanding educators who are excellent and effective and make our schools district one of the top in the state. However, the number of instances over time has increased exponentially without being effectively addressed by administration. Parents who attempted to address these issues directly with educators or administration are appeased, but no permanent change was achieved most likely because the student moves on.
- As a result, the Board recognized the need for a policy that focused on a neutral and unbiased curriculum, to prevent employees from advocating partisan, political, or social policy matters in the classroom setting.
- Educators are asked to be the professionals and acedemic subject experts indicate they are. Public schools are responsible for general education, and preparing students with the academic tools for a career or further education. Public education is not intended to produce political activists.
The School Board believes that ALL children should be a priority in our district and academics should be the main focus of educators.
Dr. Lucabaugh identified reversing learning loss as CBSD’s top priority and our School Board fully supports him in this endeavor.
All district scores are significantly lower and they continue to decline even after the pandemic. Every minute of class time must be used appropriately, teaching the curriculum with the goal of regaining the high academic standards that we once had.
Recently revealed PSSA scores, indicate that CBSD is no longer at the top and continued to fall over time so this is not an anomaly. We must correct this immediately and it’s going to take our entire community to achieve this.
Policy 321 is intended to refocus the staff on their primary education goals and align them with the Board and Administration’s vision for the future of our school district.
The ACLU- Why a complaint is not a lawsuit
Who is the real bully in the room?
During the summer of 2022, the school board policy committee was diligently revising Policy 321. The board minority were not effective therefore outside sources were contact for support.
October 23, 2018
January 10, 2023
December 14, 2022
Neutrality and balance in classroom instruction are desired in order to create an optimal learning environment and atmosphere of inclusiveness, where all students are welcome. Because views and beliefs about partisan, political, or social policy matters are often deeply personal, employees should not, during assigned work hours, advocate to students concerning their views or beliefs on these matters. Such advocacy does not contribute to a positive learning climate and may be disruptive, divisive, and distracting. Rather, classroom instruction should relate to approved curriculum. The district’s role is to teach students how to think, not what to think, thereby keeping classrooms as places of education, not indoctrination.
For purposes of this policy, advocacy and advocate are defined as the use of speech, conduct, or symbols to support or oppose a particular point of view or belief about partisan, political, or social policy issues or matters.
The Board adopts the following guidelines to clarify which activities are not appropriate during assigned work hours and on all district-owned or leased property, within all school buildings, and at all district-sponsored activities:
- Employees shall not advocate to students concerning any partisan, political, or social policy issue nor engage in partisan, political or social policy electioneering or campaigning unrelated to employee representative elections.
- Employees shall not display any flag, banner, poster, sign, sticker, pin, button, insignia, paraphernalia, photograph, or other similar material that advocates concerning any partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- Employees shall not distribute, circulate, or display circulars, leaflets, petitions, or similar material that advocates concerning any partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- Employees shall not collect or solicit funds or volunteers for any partisan, political, or social policy campaign or activity.
- Employees shall not direct or encourage students to write, address, or distribute advocacy materials related to any partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- Any district employee who holds elective, appointive, or partisan office is not entitled to time off from his district duties for reasons related to such office, except as such time may qualify under the leave policies of the Board or the pertinent collective bargaining agreement.
This policy specifically exempts the following from the above prohibitions:
- Instruction and study concerning partisan, political, or social policy issues when directly relevant to the curriculum and appropriate to classroom studies given the students’ age, class year, and course of study; provided, however, that such instruction or study is not for the purpose of advocating concerning a partisan, political, or social policy issue.
- The display of flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or of any military branch or unit of the United States or the Commonwealth; and flags of foreign countries or other U.S. States or territories when directly relevant to a course of study in a social studies or foreign language class.
- Wearing small pieces of jewelry, consistent with the professional dress code, that symbolically represent an individual’s personal beliefs.
Delegation of Responsibility
This policy is not a prohibition on topics of speech. Rather, it is designed to promote education instead of indoctrination or endorsement of partisan, political or social policy matters. In an analogous context, the district has long educated students about world religions but cannot endorse a particular religion. When implementing and enforcing Policy 321, district employees, the Superintendent and principals may be guided by that existing and familiar non-endorsement principle.
Our local media’s negative coverage of Policy 321 implies that implementing it is not what parents and our community want. This is not the case.
POLICY 321 clearly states:
“Delegation of Responsibility
This policy is not a prohibition on topics of speech. Rather, it is designed to promote education instead of indoctrination or endorsement of partisan, political or social policy matters.
In an analogous context, the district has long educated students about world religions but cannot endorse a particular religion. When implementing and enforcing Policy 321, district employees, the Superintendent and principals may be guided by that existing and familiar non-endorsement principle.’
Student academic resources and time is limited. Therefore, school districts have the right to select material specific to lead to students’ academic and the school’s defined academic requirements.”
Educators are not to use their position of authority to advocate for one side of a partisan, political, or social policy issue.
The local media has not mentioned this significant part of the policy. Why? Instead, false claims of Anti-LGBTQ oppression and Facist style censorship are made against our school board.
For over a year, the barrage of bad press, misinformation and lies on policy 321 and the school board causes confusion and division in our community, culminating in several rallies on school properties held by teachers and students claiming Anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Furthermore, several teachers stated publicly that they would not follow the policy as well which is very unfortunate.
Educators are not to use their position of authority to advocate for one side of a partisan, political, or social policy issue
This is not a censorship policy. When appropriate according to the curriculum, if employees wish to discuss political matters, they must present opposing viewpoints which allow for critical thinking and foster an environment of unbiased thought.
Let’s get back to education! Students should not feel pressured to share the same viewpoint as the teacher, employee or “superior” on assignments in order to receive a better grade.
This policy is not a suppression of one group/ i.e. Anti- LGBTQ. Our curriculum is not partisan. If educators are focusing on a curriculum topics required for all students, no group should be advocated more over the others and there would be no thoughts of indoctrination of concepts outside of the academic venue.
It is additional political activist and non-curriculum topics that when added to the curriculum, create an environment or division, unease, biasness, inequality and emotional strife among students.
The fact that the media falsely claimed that CBSD was Ant-LGBTQ as bad press, verifies that there was a problem in our school district with political and social justice indoctrination with educators and it is affecting our students.
Parents and taxpayers live in and support CBSD because of the quality education it provides to our children. Political activism is not part of that equation and our majority School Board would like our district staff to refocus their efforts back on education so that our entire community can thrive.
SIGN THE PETITION
TO REMOVE SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIALS FROM OUR SCHOOLS