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UFT Sues N.Y.C. Over Political Buttons

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New York City teachers have taken to federal court their fight against a school district policy that bans teachers from wearing campaign pins in schools, saying it violates their rights to free speech and political expression.

The United Federation of Teachers today filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking a temporary restraining order against the policy, which, according to the UFT, has been on the books but has not been followed for decades. But on Oct. 1, city schools Chancellor Joel Klein asked principals in an e-mail to enforce it.

UFT President Randi Weingarten told reporters today that “it doesn’t matter whether you support Democratic Senator Barack Obama or Republican Senator John McCain. As voters, we all should have the right to express our views."

There have been similar incidents in other districts: Just last week, teachers in Soquel, Calif., were asked to leave their political buttons behind when entering classrooms. But the issue raises interesting questions about freedom of expression for teachers.

The union argues, rightly so, that teachers are individuals with responsibilities as professionals and citizens that they need to balance.

On the other hand, I don't think most workplaces would look kindly on their employees wearing political buttons on the job.

You tell us what you think.

3 Comments

DO OVER-PAID, OVER-PROTECTED, CREEPY NY CITY UNIONIZED THUGS, WITH A THREE-MONTH TIME OUT EVERY YEAR REALLY BELIEVE THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO SHOVE THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA DOWN PEOPLE'S THROATS.

In today's world your freedom of speech hinges on if it infringes on someone else's freedoms. I have a leader in my school who wears his political button daily. I disagree with his political viewpoint. Am I going to wear my button? No. Why? I feel it is not my purpose to teach my children my political views. I teach in a 95% African-American school. Most of my students are supporting one candidate based solely on race. Unfortunately my candidate is not the same as most of them. Instead of arguing about who is better, I am trying to teach them that they need to learn facts. It is not my job to teach them what I think but to learn the reasons behind what they think. My button would only cause problems, not open discussion.

I just recently started teaching in Needles California at the High School. Completely shocked at the levels of education provided for childeren. Lack of teacher desire to educate ALL students ( burn out syndrome) or just collecting a check attitude. However regarding the politcal influence that we have over our students should be one that allows them to make choices. WEll informed choices and were pins should not be allowed if so then I as a teacher can influence my students pins promoting JESUS bring back religion, abstenance or any other social outlooks that not all of society views the same wayso why do we influence our students. Lets focus on education Reading ,Writting, Math and all the Fundamentals of education ( Not your opinons or choices) - leave the other jobs to the parents or guardian. Or be impartial and factual about both sides the students make a choice.

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