Central Bucks school board passes controversial policy

The vote has divided people in the district.

Annie McCormick Image
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Central Bucks school board passes controversial policy
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"Policy 321," which passed in a 6 to 3 vote, calls for banning teachers from talking about or displaying decor that advocates for "any partisan, political, or social policy issue."

DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A controversial school policy that would limit what teachers can discuss and display in classrooms was passed by the Central Bucks school board Tuesday night.

"Policy 321," which passed in a 6 to 3 vote, calls for banning teachers from talking about or displaying decor that advocates for "any partisan, political, or social policy issue." The policy states: "The district's role is to teach students how to think, not what to think, thereby keeping classrooms as places of education, not indoctrination."

The vote has divided people in the district.

Before the vote, both sides sounded off in nearly two hours of public comment.

"If you agree with me that queer students need to be supported you will vote no on this policy," said student Leo Burchell during the meeting.

"Pride flags should not be a litmus test for teachers to be considered accepting. To do so is to suggest any teacher that doesn't have a pride flag would accept you less," said Mara Witsen of Chalfont.

Parent Leah Barnhart spoke in support of the policy. She says the LGBTQ+ topics were not handled correctly in her 8-year-old's classroom.

"I just think the school needed direct guidance on how to handle this conversation, and the district didn't have this policy in place so they didn't handle it correctly," said Barnhart.

While board leaders say this is about bringing neutrality and balance to the classroom, the ACLU filed a complaint on behalf of a group of students who identify as transgender and nonbinary.

The complaint argues the policy opens the door to discrimination.

The ACLU complaint asked the US Department of Education to follow federal recommendations outlining how to support students within the LGBTQ+ community.