Rokita in Schools: Black Lives Matter is a Political Organization You Cannot Promote | Indiana

(The Center Square) – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has issued a legal opinion that warns that public schools should not promote Black Lives Matter and should adopt neutral policies to ensure they don’t not break the law.

“Black Lives Matter is unequivocally a political organization,” Rokita said in a statement. “Promoting or posting certain material of a political nature while prohibiting the promotion or posting of others could create liability for schools and could violate the First Amendment.”

The advisory was issued at the request of State Senator John Crane, R-Brownsburg, and State Representative Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland.

“In an age when too much of a student’s educational experience has been politicized, this view provides the necessary clarity on the foundations of [Black Lives Matter] movement, as well as reinforcing the importance of fair presentations of all subjects in our classrooms, ”said Crane. “Our children in Indiana deserve a high quality education that inspires their critical thinking in the pursuit of a society that truly gives dignity to all. “

The main part of the notice, released Thursday, focused on two things: what teachers can and cannot say in the classroom, and what material can be posted in the classroom and elsewhere in the school.

Teachers’ speech during working hours is part of their “official duties” and, therefore, is not considered protected speech, according to public opinion.

“The courts have ruled that educators are paid to teach the curriculum adopted by the school district, and not to substitute their own opinion or their own lessons, as children have no choice but to listen to the speech of the school district. ‘teacher,’ one reads, citing a 7th Circuit appeals court. decision, Mayer v. Monroe County Community School Corporation (2007).

“It is not a violation of the First Amendment to require a teacher to teach the adopted curriculum and to prohibit the teacher from covering external topics or defending personal points of view,” reads. on, adding that it is “incorrect for teachers to indoctrinate children with their own social and political interests. values.”

On material displayed in a classroom or elsewhere in schools, Rokita urged schools to have “neutral policies” so as not to be seen as promoting Black Lives Matter or any other particular political group.

“School societies should ensure that they adopt neutral policies regarding the posting of signs and other materials that are applied in a uniform and consistent manner so as not to favor any political group or organization,” the notice said. “They must ensure that if they allow signs, displays and any other expressive material or speech promoting a political organization, such as BLM, they must allow the same for all political organizations and the like. Likewise, if the school organization prohibits a political or similar organization from displaying signs or other expressive material or speech, it must prohibit all political and similar organizations from displaying, promoting and exhibiting in its schools and premises, including BLM and other similar organizations. organizations. “

The opinion goes on to say that the uniform treatment of material from different political groups “will reduce concerns about First Amendment violations or potential allegations of arbitrary and capricious decision-making.” It will also ensure that the focus remains on the mission of our schools – to educate our children. “

“Everyone should be treated equally and with respect,” Davis said. “However, the political activism and controversial ideology of this group divides communities rather than unites them. While schools should provide a comprehensive education that includes different views and perspectives, it is not their role to persuade students to believe in one ideology over another.

Rokita’s notice also reminds schools that the American flag must be displayed in every classroom.

“It is important to note that the Ind. Code § 20-30-5-0.5 provides that the flag of the United States must be displayed in every classroom of every school of a school corporation”, states the opinion . “This specific symbol has been clearly authorized as not only appropriate but mandatory. … In addition to displaying the flag, students should be given the opportunity to voluntarily recite the Oath of Allegiance daily.

Opinion focused on the most important group in the Black Lives Matter movement: the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013.

While the US Office of Special Counsel discovered in July 2020 that the Black Lives Matter group was not a partisan political organization, that conclusion was based on the group’s activities at the time of writing, according to the opinion. In October 2020, he noted, the organization formed a political action committee, explicitly supporting Democratic candidates and actively urging support for the Democratic Party and Joe Biden.

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