Greetings my fellow SASSers! Today I bring you an open letter to our Fearless Leaders concerning the gag order issued to the staff concerning discussion about the upcoming joke of a budget; particularly as it relates to education. The order is called “Policy GBG” (I didn’t make that up) and the important parts of it (for those of you who didn’t get the threatening letter) are included below.
STAFF PARTICIPATION IN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES – POLICY GBG
The Board recognizes the right of its employees, as citizens, to engage in political activity. However, the Board also recognizes that school property and school time, paid for by all the people of the district, should not be used for partisan political purposes.
Policy GBG prohibits the use of school time and school property, including school computers, for political activity. This includes prohibiting the use of school email accounts and any computer or equipment purchased by the school system. Employees should not access and use for political activity their school system email account through their personal computers.
I understand and can sympathize with the people that wrote and now must enforce Policy GBG (does that sound like a drug to anyone else), but I confess that I’m at a loss as to how it applies to the current budget proposals that have people so exercised.
The policy states that it is inappropriate for teachers to use school resources for partisan political activity and that furthermore we are not to use our classrooms as platforms to advertise any given political agenda. I wholeheartedly agree with the policy and hope to see that we continue to enforce it.
My question is, “how is discussing amongst ourselves or informing each other of school budget proposals a ‘partisan political activity’ or platform?” Is there a political party that is not interested in the endeavors we collectively refer to as “public education” and would like to make their elimination part of their party platform? Being an apolitical person myself, I’m not aware of any such thing, which is why I’m asking.
Of course I’m not really asking because that could be construed as seeking a political opinion or inviting a conversation of party politics and then I’d be in violation of Policy GBG. I’m simply pointing out that perhaps further clarification of this particular issue would be appreciated so that teachers can be sure not to accidentally misspeak.
As I stated earlier I’m not speaking for myself at all. If anything I feel that stricter enforcement of Policy GBG should be put into effect immediately. After all, what good has ever come from a community of educated people being allowed to speak freely without fear of persecution?
Yours in obedient silence,