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Pennsylvania lawmaker introduces bill to ban teachers from discussing politics, government in classrooms

Pennsylvania lawmaker introduces bill to ban teachers from discussing politics, government in classrooms
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A Pennsylvania state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban public school teachers from discussing politics or government in their classrooms.

Will Tallman (R), who has said he will not seek reelection in November's midterms, introduced the “Teacher Code of Ethics” last week, The Morning Call reported Thursday.

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According to a memo Tallman sent to his House colleagues, the bill would bar teachers from endorsing or opposing political candidates or issues while in the classroom. The bill would also prohibit teachers from discussing any pending or enacted legislation, court cases or executive orders at any level of government.

“Our K-12 school teachers should not be using their classroom time spent on political or ideological indoctrination,” Tallman said in the memo, according to The Morning Call. “Doing so takes time away from instruction in the academic foundation subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics, and prevents our students from receiving a high-quality public education for careers in the global, high-tech economy.”

Teachers found violating the policy would face suspension or revocation of their state teachers license.

Tallman told The Morning Call that he has received up to a “dozen” complaints about teachers getting political in the classroom. He also claimed that four other states have instituted similar bans, but was not able to name them.

He is a former school board member and has served in the Legislature since 2008. 

Legal experts told The Morning Call that the proposed bill is highly unlikely to become law, criticizing it as an unconstitutional violation of free speech. The blanket would also likely raise issues for teachers of social studies or government classes.