School District Sued For Influencing Votes on High School Field Trip

Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle

VoteEverywhere you look today in America, there is pressure or encouragement to vote.
Facebook.com, the popular social networking page has an application on the homepage asking if users have voted today. Google.com has a map option to see where the nearest voting facility is. Twitter is trending #govote. MTV is still sponsoring their political involvement campaign ‘Vote or Die’.
It seems political activist groups and parents at a Cincinnati high school are not happy about the one place they feel students should not be discussing politics: their school.
Hughes High School is part of the Cincinnati Public Schools district and is reportedly being sued by the anti-tax political activism group The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) for a field trip the school’s principal, Virginia Rhodes, approved.
Rhodes’ students were allegedly taken on a field trip to a Hamilton County Board of Elections headquarters by a social studies teacher and shown how to vote, with only sample Democratic ballots, on October 13, 2010.
Cincinnati Public Schools District has since suspended Rhodes with pay for two weeks according to the Huffington Post, and a hearing is scheduled for Dennis McFadden, the teacher who actually took the students on the field trip.
COAST argues that the field trip was in violation of a precedent within the district and that since students were not provided “equal access” to all candidates and, according to Chris Finney, COAST’s attorney, the field trip resulted in “one-sided political activity.”
“Students were accompanied to and met at the board by people associated with Democratic campaigns,” Finney added, which he also deemed inappropriate.
Do you believe a simple school field trip has become intertwined with a larger, more complex political agenda or do you think Hughes High School was in the wrong and should be reprimanded?

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