“If teachers want to protest police, then it needs to be on their own time,” the Utah Fraternal Order of Police wrote to the board Tuesday. “The classroom is NOT the place for political indoctrination or social engineering based upon the political leanings of the teacher.”
The union cited an unnamed elementary school teacher who it said wore a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and made “disparaging comments” about police to her students.
One of the teacher's students is the daughter of a Salt Lake City police officer who was injured and hospitalized when a recent protest turned violent, according to the letter.
“This child was emotionally devastated by someone who should be helping her feel safe,” the union wrote.
A spokesperson for that student’s school district told the Salt Lake Tribune that an internal review found no evidence that a teacher disparaged police in the classroom.
But a teacher was seen wearing a BLM T-shirt, which reportedly does not conflict with state and local rules about political speech by educators – although there’s room for interpretation.
State rules block teachers from giving personal opinions about politics and religion to students, according to the paper.
The Utah FOP has 4,100 members, just over half of the police officers in the state.
“With approximately 8,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the state, not to mention the civilian employees and others who hold law enforcement dearly, we have a tremendous number of students who should not be subject to this treatment,” the FOP wrote.