The hypocrisy should be obvious to most people but unfortunately, it’s not.
The Craven County Board of Education is in a battle with candidates looking for a seat on the School Board. So, what’s their problem? A candidate in the Back to Basics Craven County campaign – Rick Hopkins – had the audacity to place signs on the right-of-way near the central office.
Two weeks ago, the signs suddenly disappeared, taken down admittedly by officials with the district. This week, Hopkins placed the signs back in their spots to find once again their sudden need to be removed at the bequest of the current Board of Education, per the school district’s director of public relations who has decided to write a diatribe in favor of removal of the signs and expects the City of New Bern to take up the case during their next Board of Alderman meeting.
So, what’s ironic about this? First of all, the Board of Education has an Employee Political Activities policy, number 7720, which states “the employees right of citizenship, involving registering, discussing political issues, participating in political issues, participating on a community or board that seeks to serve the welfare of the community will not be infringed upon due to the employment by the school….”
The policy further states political activities must not “involve school monies or materials, take place during school time or make use of an official school position to encourage or to coerce students or other employees of the system to support in any way a political party, candidate of issue.”
Sounds fine, right? Until you do a little research on the Craven County School System. Though it has since been deleted, in September on the district’s Facebook page, House Bill 539 was discussed.
Specifically, the post stated the bill would “take money … from a school district to a charter school” when a child changes schools. The post written in Kanye West fashion featuring all uppercase letters said “IN REALITY, THIS BILL WILL INVOLVE TAKING MONEY MEANT TO SPECIFICALLY SERVE SCHOOL DISTRICT STUDENTS AND SHIFT IT (to the charter schools)….”
I’m sure that political activity was done by the public information officer on her own time. However, I can’t explain the use of the school district’s own Facebook page. Furthermore, on Jan. 13, 2005, in honor of School Board Appreciation Month, that same Facebook page said, “We would like to publicly thank our Board of Education for their commitment to public education, our school system family, and for always making decisions that our (sic) best for our students. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
Nope, nothing political about that one either.
The bottom line is Craven County Schools can’t have it both ways; you either must refrain from all political speech or dive right in. But the hypocrisy must stop.
Furthermore, can we please let the City of New Bern Aldermen deal with more important issues than a wayward sign?
Stay tuned for more on this story. It seems the hypocrisy may extend further than a 500-word piece.
Contact Grassroots Gisela at firstname.lastname@example.org.