Under the Dome

Senate bill limiting teacher advocacy passes committee

A Senate bill prohibiting teachers from politicking or “advocating for or against issues of local, State, or federal policy” during work time cleared an education committee Wednesday.

The proposal comes about two years after teachers around the state participated in demonstrations against state GOP education policies. Many of those protests were on school grounds. Angry emails from teachers sent from their work addresses also had legislators fired up.

After the meeting, Sen. Jerry Tillman, one of the committee chairman, said teachers would still be able to protest as long as they didn’t do it on school time.

Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Guilford County Democrat, asked what principals and superintendents would be able to say about school bond proposals.

The bill has an exemption for principals and superintendents promoting or opposing policy issues. though Sen. Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican, said all restrictions should apply to school and district leaders, too.

Sen. Tamara Barringer, a Cary Republican, asked about the bill’s impact on teachers who are on PTAs, which discuss policies.

Senate Bill 480 was forwarded to a Senate judiciary committee for more debate.