LITTLE ROCK (CBS DC) – The president of the Fort Smith School Board in Arkansas is demanding a ban on political rallies on school grounds.
Deanie Mehl ‘s ire was roused earlier this month when former President Bill Clinton held a political rally for Democratic Senator Mark Pryor at Northside High School.
Mehl claims she received complaints from parents who felt the rally was a partisan event and should not have been held on public property.
Mehl reassured them that attendance at the November 2nd event was voluntary, but some kids felt they were required to be there. Cheerleader Hannah Quimbo told KFSM-TV her participation was mandatory: “It was a requirement, but at the same time I think it was pretty cool going and learning about everything that’s going on.”
But school board member Jeannie Cole disagrees: “It was my understanding that the students could opt out to be there if they chose, the spirit groups and the band and all that, that it was voluntary.”
In response to the controversy, Mehl is asking the School Board to enact a policy barring partisan political events on school grounds. She does not want to prohibit political figures from schools completely. She promised she has no problem with the governor or other figures speaking at schools to promote education initiatives or to recognize student excellence.
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