NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodManitowoc


Manitowoc school board adopts revised policy on how teachers can discuss controversial issues in classroom

On Tuesday night, the board also read a proposed amendment to its visitor policy to accommodate key fobs.
Posted at 2:50 AM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 03:50:36-04

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — On Tuesday night, the Manitowoc school board passed a policy change regarding how teachers can speak about controversial issues in the classroom.

"As defined in the policy, that includes anything related to political, social, economic or religious topics that may come up in the classroom," Curriculum Committee member Tony Vlastelica said.

The update says "in the discussion of any controversial issue in the classroom or in the course of professional duties, a teacher may not express a personal opinion."

Some of the changes also include requirements like "does not indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view" and "does not cause a disruption in the school environment." The former policy stated "does not tend to indoctrinate..."

"That just could lead to potential distractions on our shared goals of improved achievement and reduced behavioral issues," Vlastelica said.

The board members we spoke with over the last month don't represent the entire board.

In July, the group also voted in favor of giving board members key fobs to be able to access all district buildings.

But on Tuesday night, the board read a proposed amendment to its visitor policy to accommodate the fobs.

"The intent there is to become much more familiar and knowledgable about what's going on in the school system rather than us being in this sort of a bomb shelter of a room," Buildings and Grounds Committee Chair Kerry Trask said.

Some of the proposed changes say the key fobs will only work to access school buildings between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Board members will sign in and out at the school office using a visitor management system for safety and security reasons.

"The intent is to bring transparency and have a understanding of the relationships between the board members, the community members, the teachers and the principals," Buildings and Grounds Committee member Matthew Phipps said.

The board can revoke the fob of any non-compliant member following a due process hearing.

The proposed visitor policy for the fobs will be on a future agenda. No final decision was made on Tuesday night.