I am grateful for your calling to public service and your dedication to promoting the common good in our state. As a fellow United Methodist, I want to encourage you to lend your opposition to HB 1134.
It creates an impossible burden on our teachers. This bill contains ambiguous rules and micromanaging of the classroom that will foster a climate of frustration and fear among teachers. While it purports to give parents a greater voice, those procedures are already in place. Instead, the bill will open the door for harassment of public school educators.
Instead of adopting this ill-suited bill, we can trust the wisdom and experience of our public school teachers and administrators. Many of them are our fellow United Methodists with whom we worship and fellowship each Sunday. We know that they will use good discernment in doing what is right in their classrooms. Just as you have been called to be a legislator, so too have our teachers been called to serve children. This bill does nothing to help them fulfill their calling but only creates hardships to the point that some are considering leaving the profession if this bill is made into law.
While it intends to protect children, it will do more harm than good. It will stifle open debate and critical thinking which are necessary parts of the educational process. And—intentionally or unintentionally—lend credibility to anti-democratic values. Complex and difficult subjects such as the racism that will not be adequately addressed if this bill becomes law. We should not fear the complexities and challenges of the truth because Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).”
As a Bishop of the church and as a son and brother of public-school educators, I urge you to prayerfully consider opposing HB 1134 and amendments to other bills that might carry forward its ideas. This letter has been sent via email and postal mail to each of you individually. I am now inviting clergy and laity of the United Methodist Churches of Indiana to add their signatures as we collectively urge you to oppose HB 1134.
As always, you are in my prayers as you seek God’s guidance.
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Indiana Resident Bishop
To join Bishop in this plea, sign here.