Was it appropriate for Holly Ridge Elementary School to have allowed NCAE to send home with students a flier promoting Monday’s teacher walk-in event?
The Wake County Republican Party and conservative groups contend the flier was inappropriate and potentially illegal. Wake County school officials say the fliers met district guidelines.
As noted in today’s article, the Holly Ridge flier is one of the things that’s drawing conservative groups to charge that Monday’s statewide teacher walk-in events are political events using children as pawns.
Lady Liberty 1885, a conservative blogger, first wrote about the Holly Ridge flier on Tuesday.
Lady Liberty focused on how the flier includes the website for Organize 2020, a group that’s helping ot organize the walk-ins. The website is highly critical of state Republican leaders for their education-related decisions.
“This is pure political organizing using our children,” Lady Liberty writes. “It’s the NCAE using our kids to drive their own agenda. This isn’t about kids or education, this is about unionizing. This is a political agenda being toted home literally on the backs of our kids. It’s appalling.”
The theme was picked up on in a blog post Wednesday by Bob Luebke of the conservative Civitas Institute.
“It is not legal to for a school to distribute political materials,” Luebke writes.
Wake County GOP Chairwoman Donna Williams denounced the flier in a press release Wednesday that charged “those parties promoting the event see no problem using students to deliver their message of unionization and promoting their upcoming union rally.”
Williams also criticized the school system for allowing the flier to be distributed via the school.
“This is just another example of why the Wake County Republican Party lacks confidence in the current school board majority,” Williams says in the press release. “We need the entire focus of the school system on a quality education for our children.”
Renee McCoy, a Wake schools’ spokeswoman, said principals have been told neither to orchestrate nor obstruct the Monday events. It’s worth noting that school board members and Superintendent Jim Merrill have publicly criticized education-related actions taken by state lawmakers.
McCoy said it’s not unusual that items are sent home in students backpacks. She said school leadership, such as the principals follow guidelines set forth in Rules and Procedures 2420 that outline what types of items can be distributed to students. She said the flier met the outlined guidelines.
Larry Nilles, president of Wake NCAE, said that the fliers are not political and that nothing should be read into the reference to Organize 2020’s website. He also said the fliers were paid for by NCAE and not with taxpayer dollars.
“It’s not about politics,” Nilles said. “It’s about talking about our schools.”