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Community Voices (Mateer): Time for school system to rid political bias against conservatives from classrooms l COMMENTARY

I would like to sincerely thank our Carroll County Superintendent of Schools Steven Lockard and Board of Education President Donna Sivigny for meeting with me regarding the political bias plaguing the Carroll County Public School system. This issue is concerning to me, because students under these teachers are not taught how to think, but rather what to think. 

When students are taught in class that, “liberals tend to have higher educations than conservatives;” when they are accused of “spreading conspiracy theories and false statements” for supporting President Trump; when they are exposed to images depicting the president with his hair on fire; when they have to walk into school every day and tolerate teachers who choose to wear pins and buttons that push a controversial political agenda; a reasonable person would say that enough is enough.  As a student, these were the things in CCPS that I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.

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When we had our meeting, I delivered 134 signed petitions identifying our requests. Among those requests, we asked that the Carroll County Board of Education enforce its own policies, including the political activities policy which states, “no employee shall: (a) Engage in political activity during working hours.” Additionally, we requested that the Carroll County Board of Education partially rescind their recording policy. It is our belief that parents, in addition to the outside community, have a right to know what is being taught, said, and done to their children and with their taxpayer dollars.  For this reason, we believe that the recording policy should be partially rescinded, enabling students to record teachers who violate policies adopted by the Board of Education.

I came out of our meeting with the impression that the Board of Education recognized this as a serious issue and would be taking our requests seriously. Based on our conversation, my impression was that CCPS will be working on a plan — and will be possibly looking into our requests as part of that plan — to combat this issue and ensure no more political bias in the classroom. This is a great start to solving such a detrimental issue, which is why I applaud them!

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Overall, the teachers of CCPS do an outstanding job providing for the education of all students. However, during the past few years, as a student who graduated only a year ago, I can attest that currently, political bias runs rampant the classroom. While many teachers do a great job teaching the subject they were hired to teach, there are some teachers that now think it is appropriate to teach their students an alternate curriculum, one that has not been adopted by CCPS, nor approved. These teachers are teaching a curriculum where students are told that if they are a conservative, or if they support a conservative figure, then they are wrong, stupid, and deserve to be condemned.

Everyone is disturbed when a child bullies another child. We should be even more disturbed when a teacher bullies a student for sharing a differing political opinion. The teacher is supposed to be a role model; someone the student can look up to. When a teacher continuously teaches a lesson mocking conservative students, or gets into a yelling match with a student regarding politics, what kind of example is the teacher setting? Are they setting the example that it is OK to bully certain people? For this reason, I greatly appreciate the Board of Education’s commitment to look into Carroll County Public Schools’ political bias and the bullying associated with it.

This is an issue that is detracting precious time from actual education; therefore, it is something that must end.  I encourage the community to stand with us on this. Please notify Lockard and Sivigny if your child experiences politics in the classroom. It is never OK for a teacher to bully a student, especially for simply having a differing political opinion.

Nathan Mateer writes from Eldersburg.

For any member of the community who would like to submit a guest community voices column for publication consideration, it should be approximately 700 words and sent to bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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