A lesbian mother has started a campaign urging her school district to ban teachers from promoting political causes in the classroom.
Washington parent Cynthia Deford is demanding an apology after her daughter’s eighth grade math teacher wore an anti-gay marriage button in class.
The Peninsula Daily News reports the badge’s message said: ‘No on 74: one man + one woman = marriage.’
Deford said her child came home after school and told her about the button worn by the teacher, saying she was ‘surprised and offended.’
She said she thought the teacher should have known better than to wear a political button of any kind while teaching class, especially when he has children of same-sex parents in his classroom.
‘It just shocked me that it happened here,’ Deford said. ‘Now she has to worry about discrimination where she didn’t before.’
Her petition is urging the Port Angeles School District to ban ‘politicking by teachers in the K-12 classrooms’, saying it would promote balanced discussions in civics, history, and social sciences.
Nearly 200 parents have signed the petition, which is to be delivered to Stevens Middle School principal Chuck Lisk and President Barack Obama.
Superintendant Jane Pryne said she could not comment except to say a policy is already in place and the district has dealt with the issue.
‘I very much appreciate the concerns and input by these citizens,’ she said.
She acknowledged that teachers have the right to engage in political activity off campus and on their own time, but not during school hours on school property.
Washington was one of three US states to become the first to vote through marriage equality at the ballot box. The bill, Referendum 74, passed with 53% of the vote.