FIRST ON 3: New Hanover Co. School District bans teachers from wearing ‘Red for Ed’ t-shirts

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Submitted: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 4:59am
Updated: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 2:12pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Teachers in New Hanover County and elsewhere have been protesting education cuts and teacher pay by wearing red T-shirts to show their support for education.

Now the New Hanover County School Board is the one seeing red and putting an end to it.  

The district says teachers can no longer wear their "Red for Ed" shirts.

"We can wear red, but we can't wear it if it says 'Red for Ed,' because that is a political statement," teacher Lucas McLawhorn said.

Two district policies that address staff participation in political activities and political activities on school property have been in place for years.

"There is no intent on the part of the board to quash a teacher's right or any employee right to express their concern and dissatisfaction," school board member Edward Higgins said. "It's just a matter of where and when."

The school board says that place is not the classroom.

Higgins says in some cases teachers have used the shirts as a platform to express their frustrations to students, but teachers say their message is anything but political.    

"We are losing good teachers, and once again a student who has a teacher that doesn't care, who is not invested, what are they going to learn?" McLawhorn said.
Higgins says the board has just as many questions about the legislature's education reforms as teachers do.

"We don't know where the idea came from. We don't know how it's supported, how it's justified," Higgins said.

State Rep. Ted Davis (R-19th District) says he is learning through forums, like one at UNCW last night, how the legislature's decisions affect local educators.

"It helps me be able to have a better understanding, so I can go to Raleigh and hopefully rectify some of those situation," Davis said.

The school district also asked principals to make sure the staff does not use the e-mail system, school websites or any other district form of communication to promote their message.

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128 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: New Hanover Co. School District bans teachers from wearing ‘Red for Ed’ t-shirts"

Carol Kramer
2015 years 8 months ago

It is unquestionably a political issue. If you don’t understand that politics is about money and power, you understand nothing.

2015 years 8 months ago

While I was in school (graduated in 2011), the students were told they had no rights in school. If that’s the case, I doubt the teachers do either.

2015 years 8 months ago

I support the teachers getting a pay raise, as well as increasing spending for education here in NC.

However, the classroom is not the place for the teachers to politic for the cause.

I wouldn’t want the teachers of my children campaigning for those seeking political office. Imagine if a teacher wore a t shirt supporting a particular candidate for president??

This is no different.

2015 years 8 months ago

I understand our public school systems are under the domination of the right wing. We were dumb enough to let it happen and we can see and feel the results. Devaluing the public schools and the teaching profession are long standing Republican goals. Nothing new here!!
What I don’t understand is why are individual school administrators and system administrators accepting this position? If you believe in and are passionate about your profession then as an education administrator your job is to support not reject your employees. Teachers all across NC must feel very alone in their profession when the very people they work for will not go to Raleigh and demand value for the teaching profession.
I am not a teacher, far from one, but I very much appreciate all the teachers in my life. I realize there is a lot of conflict about how teachers can reach their professional goals and also protect their students. The only way I see a valuable solution is to take the position that Raleigh can’t fire everybody. Strike and Strike QUICKLY!!

2015 years 8 months ago

Guest 45, your wrong and bitter against teachers for some unknown reason, not with the best intentions for our youth. Teachers thought getting board certification or masters pay would increase their salaries BECAUSE THEY WERE TOLD IT WOULD but now that is being threatened to be pulled from them. Point is good teachers that were promised periodic raises or board cert or masters pay are not going to get it and are forced to leave to pursue new careers. If you were told you would get certain raises in pay and that was stripped you’d wear red too