In a close election race against former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer is facing new ethics complaints over asking teachers to send their students to work for her campaign.
In an Oct. 27 letter to California education authorities, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), a non-profit group urging lower taxes, said, “In abject ignorance of California state law, the political campaign of Senator Barbara Boxer has openly solicited teachers employed by [Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)] to urge their students to volunteer for her campaign.”
The HJTA letter refers to a letter obtained by the Flash Report, an influential California political blog, from the Boxer campaign that urges teachers to recruit their students to work for Boxer’s campaign.
“As you may know, Senator Boxer is facing her toughest race yet,” the letter from Boxer says, “please let us know if your students are able to help.”
Boxer’s campaign was unable to immediately comment on either its letter nor the HJTA’s letter.
HJTA’s letter cites a portion of California law governing teachers’ conduct which makes it illegal for teachers to solicit political support of students, including donations and volunteer work.
As President Obama found out when he was forced to tone down what critics decried as the partisan content of a lesson plan he gave teachers to accompany a speech he was giving to students nationwide, the political input provided to schoolchildren remains a bitterly charged subject, as many parents desire to provide children their own take on often polarized issues.