Language of politics off limits in Re-1
Amendment 31 may be about English-only learning, but its implications make some school administrators extremely careful about discussing it.
On one hand, Garfield School District Re-2 superintendent Gary Pack is unabashedly vocal in opposing the amendment.
“Amendment 31 suggests that every child learns at the same rate and in the same way,” Pack said. “But I have serious doubts that in nine months of English immersion, our non-English speakers will learn enough English to function at state education levels.”
On the other hand, Roaring Fork School District Re-1 superintendent Fred Wall is leery about commenting on Amendment 31.
“School districts have a very difficult position regarding election issues and teachers need to remain neutral while they’re working,” he said. “We also have a policy that does not allow teachers to give positions on political issues. And we don’t allow our students to be interviewed unless they have parental permission. They’re minors.”
However, Wall said that principals and teachers could discuss their personal position regarding Amendment 31 after school hours.
Even though Roaring Fork School District has strict policies regarding discussing political agendas, the school board voted at a recent public meeting to oppose Amendment 31.
Garfield School District Re-2, which doesn’t have the same restrictions, voted to oppose the amendment as well.
Glenwood Springs High School principal Mike Wells reiterated Wall’s comments.
“Regarding Amendment 31, I’m not allowed to take a stand,” he said. “The school needs to remain neutral. I’d be violating fair election laws if I took a stand.”
Roaring Fork assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall wasn’t willing to discuss the amendment either, and didn’t want to involve students in any discussion about it.
“We like to keep the kids out of the political thing,” she said. “We like to focus on learning.”
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