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Old 10-16-2002, 12:23 PM
Gaijin Gaijin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Can schools push politics?

I was at a local high school football game last week. One of the issues that will be voted upon Nov. 5 is whether or not to pump an extra million or so dollars into this school. I'm going to come right out and say that I'm going to do my best to vote this thing down, because the goons will probably sink it all into the new stadium they just put themselves in debt constructing. Regardless... in the middle of the "half-time show," the marching band paraded around a sign saying "Support Our Schools, Vote YES on Issue X." The announcer proceeded to urge us all to obey the sign and vote Yes this November.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but this just doesn't seem right. The school is using public funds to do this. It's not analagous, but very similar to leading the audience in prayer before a game. Additionally, I later found that the school is distributing signs for the locals to place in their lawns pushing the "Yes" vote. My tax dollars are being spent to promote a view I disagree with.

My question is this... right or wrong, is this legal? Can I take these goons to court? I live in Ohio, if that helps.
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Old 10-16-2002, 01:15 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Join Date: May 2000
So you're saying that there's a school bond referendum on the ballot in November?

IANAL, but I'd say that the school is perfectly within its rights to campaign for the passage of a school bond referendum. If they had been carrying signs that said "Vote for Taft" or "Vote for Hagan", that would be different, but for a school referendum? No problem-o, legally speaking, I'd guess.

You talking about Cincinnati? Just curious.
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Old 10-16-2002, 02:06 PM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,509
Have a little fun, and demand equal time. If you're a big enough nuisance, maybe they'll think twice before pulling a stupid stunt like this again.

I don't know about legal, but it is wrong.
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Old 10-16-2002, 03:02 PM
Gaijin Gaijin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
No, not Cincinatti.

Are there any lawyers here at Straight Dope that could help me out? I see your point with the Hagan/Taft thing. Perhaps it's just particular issues. But then what's to stop them from toting and distributing "Vote Pro-Life" or "Vote Pro-Choice" signs? Can schools only promote specific issues that are coming up on the ballot as opposed to general ideologies? Are schools permitted to promote only those issues that will affect them directly? Come on, somebody give me the straight dope!
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Old 10-16-2002, 06:02 PM
tracer tracer is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Silicon Valley, Cal., USA
Posts: 15,762
You could always parade around carrying a sign saying "Vote YES on Nazi medical research!"...
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Old 10-17-2002, 09:48 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Join Date: May 2000
what's to stop them from toting and distributing "Vote Pro-Life" or "Vote Pro-Choice" signs
Er, abortion isn't normally a school-related issue. I am 99.99% certain that schools are allowed to campaign for school-related issues, and really the only school-related issue that's relevant here is the issue of school bond referendums.

I'd expect the school's administration to be perfectly familiar with exactly how much they can get away with in regard to campaigning for things that are on a ballot, and I'd expect it to turn out to be perfectly legal.

I think you're making a mountain out of a small pile of pencil shavings here, frankly.
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