No education officials should be using school resources or their time while on the clock to advocate for or against Initiative 42, according to State Auditor Stacey Pickering, however it’s been happening since the initiative effort began with little attention.
Carroll County Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Rana Mitchell filed a complaint with the Auditor’s office this week regarding the president of Jones County Junior College using his official email to rally support and funds to oppose 42.
This comes on the heels of pro42ers being directed to remove images and links to the 42 campaign from school district websites and complaints of superintendents and school officials pushing their staffs to support the Initiative.
Of course, those backing 42 will use the JCJC email to point to the hypocrisy of their opponents’ criticism. I can see their argument. Those who call attention to questionable actions and then are found to be tied to similar acts muddy the waters. Opponents of 42 are held to a higher standard than its backers; it’s the nature of this beast, and all involved in exposing the harmful reality that is 42 should recognize that and operate accordingly.
But hey, this is nothing new in politics. Conservatives are always held to a higher standard than liberals. Conservatives are expected to be “above reproach” while liberals often get a pass.
However, the proponents of 42 forget the house they’ve created in this initiative. It is a house glassed in on every side with many cracks, thanks to the rocks Patsy Brumfield, The Parents Campaign, Mrs. Mitchell and others are throwing from within.
You see, it was pro42ers who set up signature drives at school registrations and sporting events. It was pro42ers who offered prizes for educators who helped sign up the most voters. It is pro42ers who are using their local school district resources to spin 42 as a funding source when in actuality it’s nothing more than an anti-Legislature, pro-trial lawyer political scheme.
The Mississippi Association of Educators has hosted “training” sessions on 42 for teachers across the state and The Parents Campaign is offering educators gift cards for those who register people to be a part of their lobbyist group.
If you don’t think the deck is stacked against conservatives in Mississippi regarding Initiative 42 then you are just not paying attention.
As for Mrs. Mitchell… I have to wonder how much in Carroll County School District resources she has used to support Initiative 42 over the past few months.
She has spoken on behalf of 42 at the public hearings hosted by the Secretary of State, one as far away as Brookhaven – a good three hour drive. I know because I was the anti-42 speaker that same night. I left the Coast at 1:30pm to be in Brookhaven by 4:30pm and she beat me there – on a Tuesday.
Was Mrs. Mitchell on school district time or did she take vacation or personal leave? How did she coordinate with Patsy Brumfield and the pro42ers on the speaking engagements – through district email or phones, or personal lines?
The only way to know would be to request public records for full disclosure. Perhaps a Carroll County taxpayer should ask those questions.
But when you live in glass houses as Initiative 42 proponents do I would highly advise not throwing stones.