The 2012 Presidential election is less than a month away, and the political battle continues to get wilder and uglier. Last week, we had a flap over the alleged Arabic inscription on Obama’s wedding ring, and, this week, parents in Florida are steaming mad over what they feel is an attempt by a local school to turn young children into what one mother has labeled “Obama Activists.’
The conflict began when youngsters from kindergarten to the fifth grade were instructed by child care workers to write a letter to President Obama asking for his advice. The kids attend a before and after school program at the Seven Oaks Elementary School in Pasco County, Florida. The activity is sponsored by the local school district, and it is utilized by hundreds of children from the local area.
One child, Blair Baldree, asked permission to write to Governor Romney instead, and, according to her mother, the girl was ordered to write to President Obama. Victoria Baldree, the mother of 9-year-old Blair, told her story to Fox News:
“They handed the students letters they wanted the kids to write to the president. When Blair told them she didn’t want to write to President Obama – that she would rather write a letter to Mitt Romney – they told her no. She had to write the letter to President Obama.”
Blair’s mother questioned the motivation of the child care professionals and wondered why “unqualified people” would be instructing the children about politics:
“I think they are using the children to get to the parents. Why are they teaching kindergartners politics? I don’t understand that. I was concerned because they’re supposedly teaching them some political stuff at this program – but they are not qualified to do that. These are not teachers – these are child care workers. I was extremely livid about it. Why are unqualified people teaching children politics in an after-school program?”
The Pasco County School system has refused to comment on the incident. The district was flooded with complaints from parents earlier in the month when it was revealed that Obama campaign volunteers were allowed to register teenagers on campus and speak to students in the classroom:
“A volunteer was also allowed to deliver pro-Obama speeches to a number of high school classrooms – and in one instance Obama supporters told teenage girls that Romney would take away their birth control and ban abortions if he was elected president.”
The school district admits the Obama Campaign volunteers were on campus. According to school district spokesman John Mann:
“They did register students to vote … We don’t know how many children were registered – (but) we have an ongoing investigation.”
James Mathieu, general counsel for the Pasco County Republican Party, has filed a complaint with the Florida Division of Elections and notified the Florida Attorney General’s office. He had this to say about the presence of Obama Volunteers in Florida classrooms:
“She (The Organizing for America volunteer) got into six classrooms and gave pro-Obama speeches – like way off to the left…That got out to parents and parents complained. We have a liberal culture in our school system and we know that. The problem is someone has used false credentials, false pretenses and there is a security issue.”
Meanwhile, the allegations continue to fly and political operatives look for anything, and everything, they can find to damage their opponent’s campaign. What is your opinion? Should child care workers be allowed to order children to write letters to politicians? Do campaign workers have any business at all visiting the classrooms of children who are not even old enough to vote, especially if the students are exposed to campaign talking points without allowing the other side equal time?