‘Teachers are paid to educate our students, they’re not paid to indoctrinate our students…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A New Jersey middle school reassigned a teacher who “habitually” kneeled during the morning recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in her classroom.
Speaking at an Oct. 2 school board meeting, parents voiced concern that the teacher’s “taking a knee” was a blatant partisan move intended to influence their kids’ political opinions.
One such parent, Ron Maccri, noted how “reprehensible” the teacher’s actions were given the fact that Sgt. Dominick Pilla Middle School bears the name of a local U.S. Army Ranger who died serving his country.
“Teachers are paid to educate our students, they’re not paid to indoctrinate our students,” Maccri said, according to the Daily Journal.
“What this woman is doing would be bad in any school,” he said, “but because it’s in the Dominick Pilla School—who gave his life for our military—it’s reprehensible.”
Several other residents agreed.
“That type of behavior offends me,” said Randy London, a U.S Coast Guard veteran. “I’m not saying anyone needs to agree with everything, but if that is the district’s policy, there should be no teacher … taking a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance.”
The school district’s executive director of personnel, Joe Rossi, argued that there was nothing “political” about the teacher’s views, but did not say why she chose to kneel each morning.
As a compromise, the school agreed to remove the teacher from “homeroom oversight so the teacher would have alternate duties during opening announcements,” Rossi said in a statement.
“The district and the teacher agree that this a reasonable solution for all parties,” Rossi added.
The local teacher’s union, the Vineland Education Association, agreed and said the compromise protects the teacher’s right to her opinions while addressing parents’ concerns.
“It is a reasonable compromise that balances a school employee’s free exercise of their religion versus a parent’s concern of how that free exercise may influence their child,” the union president Lou Russo said. “We requested a legal opinion from our state affiliate and await its findings.”