A parent of an Alpine School District student says some teachers are using "emotional blackmail" by telling children to tell their parents to vote against the tax-limitation initiatives.
Educators throughout the state are concerned that the passage of three tax initiatives could be the end of a number of programs, and most school districts - including Provo, Alpine and Nebo - are dealing with the issue by setting up their own informational combat lines. But administrators said teachers have not been told what to say about the initiatives in class.Kathryn Garza, parent of an Alpine student, said not all educators have followed proper procedures.
"It makes me as a parent really upset when they use my child to get (political) information to me," she said. "That is emotional blackmail. Whether they are for it or not, they shouldn't discuss it in schools."
Garza said that during her daughter's physical education class at Orem High School, the teacher outlined programs that would be eliminated if the initiatives passed. The students were told to go home and tell their parents to vote against the initiatives.
Because teachers are state employees, Garza said, it is against regulations for them to lobby, coerce or influence anyone to vote on a particular referendum during their working hours.
Garza said she was so upset that she called the attorney general's office, Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, and a number of state edu-cators about the matter.
She was told that under provisions of the federal Hatch Act, state employees cannot engage in political activities while working. The act constrains any partisan political activity.
Jack McKelvy, business administrator for Alpine School District, said educators are "obviously not in favor of the initiatives, but we have not instructed the staff what to say.