TEA says no laws prevent teachers wearing political clothing - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


TEA says no laws prevent teachers wearing political clothing

Bramelette Elementary teacher Darcy Burton says he's worn his Barack Obama t-shirt to school for weeks. That is, until a memo came down last week.

The memo says, in part, "campaign paraphernalia in the form of buttons anything relating to a political campaign can not be worn by a teacher during instructional time."

Longview ISD officials say wearing political shirts like Burton's goes against state law.

Brian Bowman says "If their in the classroom, the hallway, if they are on the clock and being paid by taxpayers, they can not endorse a political candidate."

However, that's not what the Texas Education Agency told KLTV 7.

Spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson told us by phone, "There is no state law pertaining to teacher dress code since they are not technically state employees. School district employees such as teachers are employed by the local school district and not by the Texas Education Agency."

Longview ISD says this is the first time they've sent a memo banning teachers from wearing political paraphernalia in the classroom.

Bowman told us, "The reason we did it this year is because there does seem to be more interest more excitement maybe even more controversy nationwide on the presidential race. If we didn't put a stop to it now, pretty soon or later, it was going to be a distraction whether it was with this employee or someone else."

As for Darcy Burton, he says he feels that this ban is a violation of his rights, telling us, "If we stifle our educators by telling them that they can not wear anything that has to do with this election, especially in a classroom, then that serves to diminish our capability of engaging our children."

Lakecia Shockley, Reporting lshockley@kltv.com


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