Miami-Dade Teachers tell school board: "Don't Mix Politically Charged Anti-Gun Walkouts wit
On May 16, 2016, three Miami-Dade County School Board teachers took the podium to tell the school board that they were appalled that classroom instruction was paralyzed to allow minor students to walkout of the school building, without parental consent, to protest in favor of the anti-gun movement.
The "walkouts" that were sanctioned were held to "protest" in favor of the anti-gun movement that has taken root as a result of recent school shootings throughout the United States.
Ms. Thais Alvarez
The first teacher who spoke, Thais Alvarez, who is also an attorney, explained to the Miami-Dade School Board that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that schools are to maintain political neutrality and not thrust students into politically controversial issues. Logically, the U.S. Supreme Court reasons that students attend school to learn - not be used to further any political agenda. The school board is skirting the rulings of the Supreme Court by turning a blind eye to past case rulings she discussed.
Ms. Alvarez also pointed out that when her students, in a follow-up writing activity, were asked about the walkout, the students admitted that they: (1) did not understand the political issues behind the walkout; and (2) were walking out just to skip classes.
Ms. Alvarez asked:
Where is the parental outrage?
Ms. Alvarez teaches middle school students.
Mr. Jefferey Stanaford
The next teacher, Jefferey Stanaford, told the school board that he had always been under the impression that politics were not allowed in school. In fact, he pointed out that the School Activity Guidelines do not address walkouts because they are simply not allowed.
He also, as Ms. Alvarez experienced, learned that students participating in the walkouts did not understand why they were walking out.
He raised the issue that parents he spoke to were not made aware that their children were participating in student walkouts during school hours - until after the fact. Parents immediately inquired about their children's safety while they participated in the walkouts.
Mr. Stanaford raised an excellent question for the school board attorney to explore:
Would parents have a legal claim against the school board for allowing their minor children to walkout during politically charged walkout without their parental consent?
He asked the Miami-Dade School Board if we could arrange to have walkouts that support the 2nd amendment, for example? Or, he suggested, would the school board, now, all of a sudden, make student safety an issue?
Mr. Stanaford teaches 2nd grade students.
Kristin Hill, the last teacher who addressed the Miami-Dade School Board on this matter, pointed out that although the First Amendment guarantees free speech for all, Miami-Dade Schools allows for double standards where not everyone is allowed to express their views and ideas.
Ms. Hill made it clear that this is not about suppressing students' First Amendment's rights; instead, she stressed, it is about pointing to a double standard where some viewpoints are allowed and where only some can walkout.
The first double standard in "viewpoint discrimination" is illustrated when, on May 2, 2018, 40 states held walkouts at schools in favor of the Second Amendment, including Florida in neighboring Broward County, yet Miami-Dade Schools did not organize for students to be able to walkout in favor of the Second Amendment. Clearly, Ms. Hill tells the Miami-Dade School Board, that they are not there to take sides on political issues - even though they are.
The second double standard "discriminates against teachers" since teachers are not allowed to walkout. She factually stated that, as of late, there have been threats to arrest teachers should they walkout, yet students receive praise for walking out!
Ms. Hill also had a question for the school board: