Utah PTA President Darlene Gubler has called on local PTA leaders to stand fast against "bullying tactics" being used by tax initiative proponents to quell the organization's stand against the tax limitations.

Gubler called a news conference Monday to respond to pressure that some local PTA units have been under to stop campaigning against the tax cap measures.Gubler said the position was adopted through the approved process the PTA takes in such debates and is perfectly bona fide. The organization, a historic advocate for children, frequently takes a position on an issue that is deemed likely to either harm or help children, she said.

"In all my 27 years of PTA experience, I have never encountered such bully tactics," Gubler said. "We have taken stands that others have had differing opinions about, but never had the threats, the abusive phone calls, the disruptive actions."

Gubler said she wants all local PTA presidents to know they have nothing to fear from the legal threats and encourages all to proceed with plans to oppose the initiatives.

"We have taken the stand because it is so clear that passage of the initiatives will destroy public education as we now know it in Utah."

Local meetings in Granite and Davis districts have been disrupted by protest badgering, she said.

At the Rosecrest Elementary School in Granite District, a man videotaped the meeting proceedings and threatened a lawsuit.

All 638 local PTAs have been asked to join the fight against the three initiatives and have been sent instructions on how to organize their efforts.

The protesters have used public buildings to promote their position, she said, "and we are not shouting at them and all they do."