Discussing “Controversial Issues” Can Get Arizona Teachers Fired

A new proposed Arizona law could help school administrators fire teachers if they speak to their students about "controversial issues," according to Tucson.com.

House Republican Mark Finchem wants to ban teachers in public and charter schools from discussing racial, political, and religious topics in the classroom, or they could face termination.

Last week, House Bill 2002 was introduced in Arizona's state legislature which would punish teachers with something as severe as firing for "for engaging in any 'political, ideological or religious' advocacy or discussion with their students." 

The bill is worded rather nebulously which can spell trouble for furthering LGBTQ causes, as it is no secret that talk of LGBTQ rights and equality has been branded controversial by Republicans for years. 

Finchem has said that this bill was in direct response to his constituents' concerns about political discourse in schools, but has also admitted that the statewide strike campaign #RedforEd, which focuses on the unfair way that education is being targeted in Arizona, was also a factor in drafting the bill. Finchem claimed that if teachers discussed what state legislators deemed as "controversial," they would effectively be indoctrinating their students. 

Rachel Johnson, a teacher at Mansfield Middle School said that she and her colleagues do not show bias towards either side when discussing a controversial topic, but instead help their students research the topic in order for them to obtain an objective opinion on the matter using facts.

There is already a lack of LGBTQ education in schools across the country and the threat of being fired for discussing LGBTQ issues and successes is enough to make many people yield to this bill. Education is imperative in the fight to eradicate bigotry, and if teachers aren't allowed to discuss certain topics, the bigotry will only continue.

Hopefully this bill won't be passed.

h/t: Tucson.com

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