Volunteers for the Better Schools, Better Jobs ballot initiative aimed at fully funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program despite obvious fiscal realities supporters dismiss are scrambling around the state to gain the signatures necessary to have it placed on the 2015 statewide ballot.
With school back in session, efforts are in high gear, however supporters (namely The Parents Campaign, Democrats, and paid workers) would do well to be reminded of school policies regarding such political activity.
— Nancy Loome (@ParentsCampaign) August 7, 2014
Despite policies against political activity on school property, districts around the state are allowing supporters of the MAEP ballot initiative to openly politick and solicit signatures at schools.
I’ve heard reports of this being the case from parents in various districts across the state, seen the proof of it on social media, and I witnessed it for myself in my child’s school.
A quick search revealed that most districts have a variation of the same policy against such political activity, such as Pascagoula’s which reads, “…school property and school time shall not be used for political purposes,” or Clinton’s which more thoroughly states:
1. Political activity may not be engaged in during school hours or on property owned by the Clinton Public School District.
2. The following activities are prohibited:
a. The posting of political circulars, petitions, or bulletins in buildings or on school property.
b. The distribution to employees, whether by placing in their school mailboxes or otherwise, of political circulars or petitions. (United States Mail being excepted)
c. The collection of and/or solicitation for campaign funds.
d. Solicitation for campaign workers
e. The use of pupils for inviting or addressing political materials or the distribution of such materials to pupils for further dissemination.
f. The use of class time for proselytize pupils or other staff for political purposes…
…4. Violation of this policy shall, at the discretion of the board, constitute cause for reprisal, demotion, suspension, or dismissal.”
At least one Desoto County school, whose district also has a similar policy prohibiting political activity on school property, staff went so far as to have the ballot initiative listed as part of their open house checklist for parents.
And yes, no matter how you slice it, this ballot initiative is in every shape and form political activity.
It is beyond obvious why school administrators would be openly violating their own policies; their fiefdoms would welcome the extra funding.
However, citizens should rightfully expect its school administrators and school boards to abide by the same policies it imposes on the public and their children.
Staying apolitical is the challenge. There is a time and place for everything, and politics on school property on the taxpayers’ clock isn’t the time or the place.