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Do Recall Politics Belong in the Classroom?

Concerns raised after Whitefish Bay Middle School teacher wore a "Recall Walker" pin at school.

With teacher pay and benefits coming to the forefront in a heated political climate, the has found its way into one Whitefish Bay classroom.

Conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes reported Tuesday that a teacher wore a "Recall Walker" pin in the classroom — a cause for concern for some of the students' parents.

"I would like the school to be a political-free zone," said one parent, who asked not to be named. "If a teacher was wearing a pro-Walker pin, an anti-Walker pin or any other political pin, it's inappropriate. I think it is provocative and unnecessary. What we really want is kids coming home talking about the core curriculum, not that the teacher is wearing a political pin."

Whitefish Bay Superintendent Mary Gavigan said the district has historically expected its staff to remain neutral on controversial issues, and the teacher voluntarily took the button off after a conversation with Middle School Principal Lisa Gies. Gavigan said all of the district's principals have since reminded teachers not to take a stance on political issues in the classroom.

“We do ask that our staff refrain from using their position to promote partisan politics while at school and during the work day,” Gavigan said.

Gavigan said this is the first reported incident of a teacher bringing their political beliefs into the classroom in recent history. The district responded to a similar complaint roughly four to six years ago at , she said.

Bob McBride January 13, 2012 at 04:41 PM
That's because you support the recall (as long as you can do it somewhere where someone else is footing the bill to ensure your safety). Had they worn an "I Stand with Walker" button, you'd be braying like the mascot of the party you support.
N. Peske January 13, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I want to recall him too, mostly because he is corrupt and a bully! That said, i wonder, has it occurred to you that the kids who don't hand in homework, who are disruptive, or who act in defiance, are not doing it deliberately, and it's not about you? Defiance comes from a FEAR, fight-or-flight response? Is it possible that they need more training in self-regulation, organizational skills, and reading social cues and what they're getting is harsh judgment, unfair punishment, and no logical consequences of actual training in how to manage moving from classroom to classroom and handling overly complex, sophisticated homework assignments starting when they are 9 years old? Is it possible that they're going into fight-or-flight, and defiance, because they have untreated sensory issues and anxiety? I am not saying it's your job to parent them. I am saying we really need to get serious about parents, teachers, and kids teaming together to ensure that our highly motivated kids are supported in learning the real-life skills they need early on, long before they become social pariahs or give up on themselves.
robert heule January 16, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Bob, no I would not bray, I am a civil libertarian. I would back the free speech rights of anyone regardless of their views. If it had been a GOP advocate. it wouldn't have received as much publicity. The word came from a guy whose voice comes from a tall structure about a mile or so southwest of Whitefish Bay High School.
Bob McBride January 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I frankly don't believe you, but for the sake of argument if you did, you'd be wrong again. The classroom is no place for an educator to be promoting a political agenda of any kind. You folks on the left seem obsessed with Charlie Sykes. I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but there are other media outlets and infotainment sources out there, including one that's taxpayer supported and has much greater geographical coverage than his does. The folks on that part of the dial have their own way of doing precisely what he does, although they couch it in "thoughtful discussion" that generally favors the POV you'd be more agreeable to and heavily screen calls accordingly, just as he does. I have no doubt that if an educator wore a button in support of Walker, there would be plenty of media attention to the incident. That is, if the teacher even made it into the classroom before being reported by a colleague and called in to make sure it was removed in a similar fashion.
JGK January 25, 2012 at 06:18 PM
When you can't influence the adults on the street...work on the children in the classroom..I think it's a great move towards collective bargaining being restored.. JGK Riverwest Annex

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