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Issue: Opinions in the Classroom

March 04, 1993|Emily Adams, Times community correspondent

Teachers in some area school districts have openly campaigned for school board candidates and complained about district decisions. Others have been outspoken on topics from abortion to the presidential election. Considering their influence, is it right for teachers to express opinions on controversial subjects in the classroom?

Laura Rico, Interim co-president ABC Federation of Teachers.

I know a lot of times kids at the secondary level will be aware of what is going on in the world, and they will ask questions. And people do express their opinions. I've had kids ask about what things were like in the '60s, so sharing my experiences with them was a good thing. And kids have asked all kinds of questions about the recent picketing and why teachers are unhappy and so on. A lot of teachers I know did not want to talk about it during class time. Probably the best idea is to answer those kinds of questions during lunch or on break time. The district talks about labor disputes all the time, and kids hear it from parents or the media. So teachers should be able to talk about contract disputes too. But it really depends on how the subject is brought up. It could be germane to what is being di s cussed and, if so, then that is instructive. It's all about judgment really. It's a fine line.

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