PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland school board votes unanimously for new resolutions to protect both immigrant students and free speech.
There are two main focuses - protecting minority and immigrant students and staff, as well as employee free speech.
Tuesday night, the Portland Board of Education voted unanimously to pass all three proposed resolutions.
The first is a resolution that teachers have the right to free speech and to speak their beliefs and their opinions.
The department says it trusts teachers to maintain a level of professionalism, but that remaining neutral in speaking on national matters and all controversial situations is not required.
The next resolution is to condemn violence and hate speech, especially for Muslim students and other minorities.
The final resolution is to make Portland schools a safe haven for students and families. Under this resolution, the schools will not use any school resources to help in apprehending undocumented immigrants, unless by court order.
These resolutions were proposed in response to an alleged hate crime at Casco Bay High School, where a white man allegedly verbally and physically assaulted four black students.
Representatives of the Maine GOP say they've received complaints from parents and some within the school about these new resolutions - and they've even accused the superintendent of playing politics.
“We object to classroom resources, school time, and communications and things of that nature being used for politics,” said Jason Savage, Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party.
Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana said, “I think that we're doing what a school district does which is standing by its students and affirming, in this case, by the resolutions, that we will continue to do that. That's what we do and that's not politics.”
One interesting thing to note is that despite opposition while this was being discussed - everyone who spoke in the room, including members of the public, was supportive of the resolutions.
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