I’ve noticed a lot of publicity lately about meetings of the Tea Party at Union Mine School. Now I’m all for the peoples’ rights of free association as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, but it has occurred to me that public schools such as Union Mine may be an inappropriate forum for these meetings. Since our schools are publicly funded by our tax dollars, it seems appropriate for them to remain neutral in the expression of political views.
Of course I’m sure the school has been well compensated for the use of its facilities by the Tea Party as a way of distancing themselves from the organization, much as one would expect if, for example, the Nazis, Communists, KKK or atheists were to request use of the facilities of the public schools to promote their particular ideologies. Nevertheless, it remains an uncomfortable association that should be troubling to most tax paying citizens. I’m sure many of my concerns are unfounded and I welcome those who have permitted this to occur to provide their rationale for the apparent conflicts.
Maybe the easiest way to resolve this problem would be to move the Tea Party meetings to a site not directly supported by taxpayers, such as a local church. No, on second thought, that wouldn’t work since they are also subsidized by their tax exempt status. I guess the problem is tougher than I thought. How do you give voice to people who don’t want to pay taxes if anywhere they might gather is supported by taxpayers?