Staff Participation in Political Activities

The Yarmouth School Committee believes in the principles of democracy and respects the rights of its employees to participate in the democratic process. These rights include discussing the social, political and economic issues of the day in public venues; participating actively in the political party of their choice; becoming a candidate for public office; and campaigning in the community for candidates and in support of political issues.

While the School Committee respects these rights and encourages its employees to engage in political activities as private citizens, the Committee believes that campaigning and other political activities of individual staff members should not compromise the instructional program or disrupt the operations of the schools.

In adopting this policy, it is the intent of the Committee to provide guidance for staff participation in political activities and communicate these expectations to parents, students and the community.

School employees shall not engage in political activities while carrying out their work responsibilities during the school day, while performing work for the school unit outside of the school day on school premises, or while performing work for the school unit at any other location.

“Political activities” include:

  1. Campaigning for or against any candidate, political party or issue;

  2. An employee’s using his/her position to attempt to influence students,parents or others to vote for or against any candidate or issue;

  3. Contacting students, parents or others for such purposes;

  4. Wearing apparel with political messages or displaying campaign paraphernalia while performing work; or

  5. Soliciting for or collecting funds or distributing material in connection with campaigning or support of political issues.

When engaging in conversations with students outside of classes or school activities, employees should be mindful of the potential effect of their position, authority and influence when stating personal opinions in regard to candidates and political issues.

Consistent with the district’s Employee Technology and Internet Use Policy, no school employee shall use the school unit’s resources (e.g., including but not limited to school unit-owned laptops and other electronic devices, school unit networks, copiers, scanners, or mail service) to promote political candidates or parties or to encourage a vote for or against an issue. Outside of the school day, incidental personal use of school technology, excluding school email, for such activities is permitted as long as such use does not interfere with the employee's job duties and performance, with system operations or other system users.

While it is appropriate for an employee who is a candidate for political office to provide employment information in a written profile, no school unit employee shall use the school unit’s name or logo to promote his/her candidacy for political office, or to promote other candidates or political positions, or represent his/her view as those of the school unit or the Yarmouth School Committee.

Nothing in this policy shall prevent an employee from engaging in political activities on school premises when such activities are conducted in accordance with the school unit’s facilities use policy.

Nothing in this policy shall preclude the discussion of political or controversial issues or current events or exposure of mature students to candidates as guest speakers provided that such is done in compliance with the district’s policy on the teaching of controversial issues (IMB).

Nothing in this policy shall preclude the involvement of extra-curricular advisors in assisting students participating in extra- and co-curricular clubs and activities with promoting political candidates or causes, provided that the impetus for the particular effort comes from the group of students involved and is directly related to their club or activity.

Nothing in this policy should be construed as precluding mock elections, debates, conventions or other simulated political activities, where the activity is intended as an educational experience.

Nothing in this policy shall prevent the School Committee from providing information or expressing its position or views on any political issue affecting the schools or from directing or authorizing the Superintendent to use school unit resources to accomplish this purpose. The School Committee will not use its influence or school unit resources to promote any particular political party or to promote or discourage the election of any particular candidate. Individual School Committee members, however, are free to endorse political candidates or causes as long as they are careful not to imply that the endorsement is being made by the School Committee as a whole or by the Yarmouth School Department.

Cross Reference: 
KH – Public Solicitations in the Schools
GCSA/GCSA/R – Employee Technology and Internet Use
IMB – Teaching About Controversial/Sensitive Issues
KF – Community Use of School Facilities
KHC – Distribution of Non-school Materials

Approved: October 11, 2012