A concerned community member reached out to Parents Defending Education regarding a policy adopted by Middletown Public Schools that attempts to restrict the language of both students and parents “on school property” or at a “school function.” The policy is titled “Civility/Respectful Communications and Actions” and was adopted on September 13, 2022. The school district states in the policy:
The Board expects staff, students, parents and members of the public while at school, on school property or at a school function to communicate and act in a manner that promotes respect for the dignity and worth of all individuals, regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, socio-economic status, or role within the school community. All adults participating in the school community are expected to communicate and act in a manner that consistently provides positive role models for students.
The policy then adds:
The Board will regulate communications and actions by staff, students, parents and members of the public while at school, on school property or at a school function, when such communications or actions are contrary to these fundamental principles.” An example of “disruptive communications” is “harassing, defamatory, obscene, abusive, discriminatory or threatening verbal, written or electronic communications.” Another example is even more vague and describes “any other behavior which disrupts the orderly operation of the school, a school activity, or any other activity sponsored by the school district.