FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities and promoting their political views while working, according to a revised district policy approved unanimously Tuesday by the board of directors.

Directors also discussed the gender identity poster in Mt. Blue middle and high schools, mobile computer science labs offered by the state and snow days.

According to the Staff Participation in Political Activities policy, staff cannot engage in political activities while on the job, no matter the location or time. There are no restrictions placed on employees’ political activities during their personal time, even if those activities occur on school grounds.

Political activities include campaigning; using their role as an employee to attempt to influence the political views of parents, students or others; wearing political apparel; or collecting funds and distributing political campaign materials.

The policy encourages staff to be “mindful of the potential effect of their position, authority and influence when stating personal opinions in regard to candidates and political issues” while conversing with students.

Staff are further barred from using school resources, including laptops, copiers or mail services, to promote political candidates, parties or issues.


This policy does not restrict teachers from discussing political issues, current events or controversial topics. Teachers will be able to invite political candidates as guest speakers provided that “such is done with the understanding that a balanced approach of all sides is a critical part of understanding the democratic process,” and the activity does not violate the district’s policy on guest speakers or teaching controversial issues.

According to the policy, the board of directors retains the right to provide information or express its positions on any political issue affecting schools, however it will not use its influence or school resources to promote any political party, candidate or issue.


Before directors approved the consent agenda, Director Alexander Creznic of Farmington made a motion to add a discussion and vote about a gender-identity poster displayed in the windows of the guidance offices at Mt. Blue middle and high schools.

Directors discussed the poster at their last meeting Sept. 13, but did not vote on it. Following community concern, Superintendent Christian Elkington reviewed the poster and ultimately recommended that it remain in its current location.

Creznic said he has heard from “a number of individuals” who said they wished to see the poster remain up, and on Tuesday, three who requested it be taken down.


He suggested that the district find a compromise between both sides by leaving the poster up, but moving it within the offices and away from the windows which face the hallways.

Residents have expressed concerns to him that students with religious beliefs face persecution “because their values differ from the acceptable values of the day,” he said.

However, Creznic ultimately withdrew his motion after directors advised him that the opportunity to add items to the agenda had passed. Some directors also expressed concerns that an addition to the agenda Tuesday would not provide the public with reasonable notice of the discussion and possible vote.

The posters, created by the LGBTQ+ youth advocacy organization OUT Maine, and titled “Gender 101,” explain the concept of gender, assigned-at-birth biological sex, and offers definitions for “intersex,” “transgender,” “cisgender,” “gender non-conforming” and “gender fluid.”


In other news, Elkington told the board that school administrators are reviewing an offer from the state to provide a mobile computer science lab for every public school in Maine.


Seven or eight labs have been offered to RSU 9, he said.

While he described the initiative as a “nice opportunity,” Elkington said administrators were concerned that the supplies, materials and software included in the labs were only covered for one year. Afterward, districts would be expected to take on the costs.

The district may consider requesting one lab for the middle school, he said.

“We’re going to take a little bit harder look at that and see if it’s still an option, if this is something we want to go to, or if there are too many concerns on what the overall costs could be,” he said.

Elkington additionally told the board that the district will not offer remote learning days as a substitute for traditional snow days.

In order to hold a remote learning day, the district would be required by law to offer meals to students. These meals would need to be paid for by the school district because state and federal programs will only reimburse the district for meals served at school, he explained.


Through a combination of state and federal programs, Maine school districts are reimbursed for the cost of serving breakfast and lunch. All students may request these meals free of charge.

“We will not be offering a remote school option on say a snow day for this reason, concern for weather-related electrical outage and lack of connectivity, and for the emotional health of students enjoying a snow day,” Elkington wrote.

He also addressed a “disconcerting rumor” that RSU 9 schools provide litter boxes for students who want to be considered a cat or other animal in his report memo, calling it “a recurring fictional story based on zero facts or evidence.”

“To say that this is disrespectful and outlandish is an understatement,” Elkington wrote. “To be crystal clear, I have never seen any evidence of this anywhere in our state or country. It is not something that we do, have done, or would do in RSU 9.”

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