Pasco district to teachers: Keep teaching civics
With controversy swirling over politics in Pasco County schools, some teachers have begun calling the district office saying they're having second thoughts about offering lessons relating to this year's presidential election.
They've talked of canceling mock elections. One teacher who had scheduled state Sen. Mike Fasano to talk about how bills become laws in Florida called him to see if he still wanted to come, given all the hoopla surrounding the Republican reaction to an Obama volunteer making an unscheduled partisan speech before students.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino told the Gradebook that a few cases at a couple of schools should not scare teachers away from their plans. "We need to teach civics and U.S. government, but we need to do it correctly," she said.
Assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose sent a letter to all principals and assistant principals on Friday saying as much:
"In light of recent publicity and concerns involving visitors to campuses who register students to vote, please communicate to your teachers that they should continue their lessons regarding civic duty to participate in our election processes. These lessons must be taught in a nonpartisan manner. Election related activities, such as mock elections, are valuable tools as we want to teach our students the value of participating in the election process.
"When visitors come to your campus, please ensure that appropriate sign-in procedures are followed at all times to protect the safety of your students and staff."
The district employee relations department continued to look into the activities that resulted in the Democrat volunteer making the controversial speech to students during what was supposed to be a nonpartisan voter registration activity, as well as related voter registration efforts by Organizing for America. The findings are due out soon.