Mitt Romney visit to Pasco high school Saturday raises new questions about politics in schools
Alex Sink was miffed.
As the Democratic candidate for Florida governor two years ago, Sink asked to rent a classroom at Gulf Middle School in Pasco County to film a campaign ad. The School Board flatly rejected her, with board member Joanne Hurley saying the schools should not "become a backdrop for campaigns of any kind."
Then Sink learned this week that the same school district would allow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to rent the Land O'Lakes High School football stadium for a Saturday evening rally.
"If it applies to me, a Democrat, it should apply to anyone," Sink said Thursday. "If it's a policy, it should be applied consistently."
The appearance of a double standard did not escape the notice of United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb. "I believe the School Board is definitely playing partisan politics," said Webb, a vocal supporter of President Barack Obama.
She suggested that, in its efforts to play up the event, the district and its schools have violated several board policies relating to political activities. In the aftermath of a national "brouhaha" over partisan Democratic speeches made this fall to Gulf High School students, Webb said, the administration and board might have thought to tread more lightly.