POLICIES HELP GOVERN OUR PURPOSE
Basic policies govern the activities of all PTAs.
These policies ensure a unity of purpose through the members’ commitment to the Purposes of the PTA and help protect the association and its members from exploitation. In addition, National PTA and Florida PTA are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). As such, they maintain strict adherence to its requirements in order to retain that exemption.
NONCOMMERCIAL, NONSECTARIAN AND NONPARTISAN
The PTA is a noncommercial, nonsectarian and nonpartisan organization. These basic policies must be part of every PTA’s bylaws:
Noncommercial — All PTA bylaws, whether unit, council, state or national, require the association to be noncommercial. This noncommercial policy also means that the name “PTA” — which is a registered service mark — or the names of its officers shall not be used in conjunction with the commercial activities of other organizations including, but not limited to, the promotion of their goods and services. This policy should be applied with judgment, discretion and common sense, recognizing that it is not meant to prohibit all contact or cooperation with such groups. Before accepting donations of goods or services, a PTA organization, at any level, should consider whether such acceptance might be construed as an endorsement of the provider.
Nonsectarian — The National PTA and its unit, council and States PTAs welcome into membership people representing a diversity of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs. Creed, color, race and economic status are irrelevant to qualification for membership. PTA should be hospitable to all – supporting no one religion over another and according each faith equal respect and consideration. The Purposes of the PTA acknowledge the importance of spiritual faith in the development of children and youth.
As a private association, PTA has the right to offer inspirational messages to open or close its meetings; however, such messages by PTA leaders should be inspirational rather than sectarian, recognizing that in this pluralistic nation, not all members share the same beliefs. Poetry, quotations from great men and women, uplifting anecdotes, and moments of quiet meditation can serve to focus concern for and dedication to improving the lives of children and youth. PTA leaders should be aware of their school district’s policy regarding celebration of religious holidays and should work closely with school administrators to observe whatever guidelines have been established.
Nonpartisan — Any use of the Florida PTA name for legislative or electoral activity requires prior authorization from the Florida PTA. No activity engaged in by any unit or council PTA should suggest or imply the support of the National PTA or Florida PTA.
One of the Purposes of the PTA is “to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.” It is by educating its members – and, through them, the general public — on the impact of issues affecting children and youth, that PTAs can best influence the course of action of those who make policy decisions, thereby achieving the Purposes of the PTA. PTA units may be involved in legislative activities by supporting or opposing local issues that affect children or services to children in their respective communities, and unit and council PTAs are encouraged to promote adopted Florida PTA positions and may be requested to actively support them. While unit and council PTAs are not required to work actively for any position, they should not officially oppose a stand taken by the Florida PTA Board of Directors. Unit and council PTAs need not vote to affirm a Florida PTA position in order to take action. Expressed membership disapproval of a position on legislation should be communicated to the Florida PTA Board of Directors through regular channels, with a report of the extent of – and reasons for the disapproval.
To retain tax-exempt status and continue to receive tax-deductible contributions, those PTAs that are recognized as being tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) may not (1) devote more than an insubstantial part of their activities to influence legislation (generally interpreted as not exceeding five percent of total expenditures); (2) participate in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for national, state, or local public office. A unit’s failure to comply with these restrictions may endanger council, State and National PTAs IRC 501(c)(3) status. Legislative activities must not exceed the limitations placed upon the Florida PTA and its units under the federal tax laws. In order to ensure that the limitations are not exceeded, records should be kept with respect to the amount of time, money, and volunteer activity such efforts involve. PTA must never support or oppose political parties or candidates, including those running for school boards on nonpartisan slates. However, PTA may adopt a position expressing its support for or opposition to issues dealing with the health, safety, education or general well-being of children and youth, but only to the extent permissible with respect to the requirements of each PTA’s tax-exempt status. Nothing in the law or in PTA bylaws prohibits members as individuals from exercising their civic responsibilities in personal and partisan ways, including running for offices themselves.
The National Congress of Mothers, irrespective of creed, color or condition, stands for all parenthood, childhood, homehood.”
– Alice McLellan Birney, 1898 Cofounder of National PTA
Those words, true in 1898, are even truer today.
PTAs everywhere must understand and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals, appreciating that each contributes a diversity of views, experiences, cultural heritage/traditions, skills/abilities, values and preferences.
When PTAs respect differences yet acknowledge shared commonalities uniting their communities, and then develop meaningful priorities based upon their knowledge, they genuinely represent their communities. When PTAs represent their communities, they gain strength and effectiveness through increased volunteer and resource support.
The recognition of diversity within organizations is valuing differences and similarities in people through actions and accountability.
These differences and similarities include age, ethnicity, language and culture, economic status, educational background, gender, geographic location, marital status, mental ability, national origin, organizational position and tenure, parental status, physical ability, political philosophy, race, religion, sexual orientation, and work experience.
Therefore PTAs at every level must:
- Openly assess beliefs and practices to assure inclusiveness and guard against discrimination;
- Make every effort to create a PTA board and membership that is inclusive and reflective of its community;
- Encourage that all PTA activities at the school be planned by a committee which is representative of the population;
- Foster programs and practices that eliminate bias, prejudice and misunderstanding within their communities;
- Become acquainted with the leaders of the many diverse groups in the community and collaborate with them to increase parent, family and community involvement;
- Educate its leaders and members to the needs, cultural beliefs, traditions and family structures of the population they serve; and
- Propose change wherever discriminatory practices are perceived.
PTA values and appreciates diversity, which enriches and strengthens the structure of our society within our state and nation.
†This policy should be used in its entirety with no portion quoted out of context.
NATIONAL PTA SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
National PTA recognizes the importance of the internet in shaping public thinking about the entire PTA organization along with our current and potential services. We also recognize the importance of our employees and volunteers joining in and helping shape the industry’s conversation and direction through interaction in social media. National PTA is committed to supporting honest, transparent and knowledgeable dialogue on the internet through social media.
The following social media policy guidelines are intended for national, state, regional, district, council and local PTA or PTSA entities. The social media policy guidelines are to be applied to any internet based, official or unofficial PTA site, and otherwise related online elements of the PTA. Regardless of whether the online content is created using CMS tools, a Facebook page, WordPress or other third-party web hosts/platforms, the use of any PTA logo, related image or name on the online content, the unofficial or informal internet based element must comply with the following policy and guidelines.
As with anything, PTA needs to take some precautions when using social media tools that connect and engage our organization. The same resources that make social media interactive are also the same elements that can damage the PTA brand.
National PTA encourages all PTA entities to use tools that align with our standards and policies to increase membership, communicate with current and potential members, fundraise and increase positive exposure. To that end, social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blogging sites should be embraced and used with the guidelines set by National PTA. Social media platforms allow PTA to connect to members and potential members in a very interactive way. The digital presence allows PTA to share videos, post information, display pictures, promote PTA, receive feedback, and best of all—network.
For further information see Guidelines and Aids for National PTA Social Media Efforts.