New York

Uproar Over School Posts Encouraging Students to Campaign for de Blasio

The school district is stressing the posts were advertising a learning experience for students and were not an endorsement of any candidate

Posts on a New York City school’s website and social media encouraging students to campaign for Mayor Bill de Blasio have angered some parents and sparked calls for an in-depth investigation.

The request for volunteers showed up on the website and Facebook page of Staten Island Technical High School.

The posts, which have since been removed, encouraged students in the heavily Republican area of Staten Island “to make phone calls, knock on doors and talk to people in high traffic areas.”

A spokesperson for the mayor’s reelection campaign told NBC 4 New York they had nothing to do with the posts.

But Republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis, who is facing off against de Blasio, a Democrat, for mayor in just days, said “it’s absolutely outrageous.”

“It’s really an inappropriate thing,” Malliotakis said. “It’s unethical and should be investigated.”

Toya Holness, a representative for the Department of Education, said: “A student asked to post this, and the principal thought he would encourage activism by allowing it. It wasn’t the right decision, and it has since been taken down.”

NBC 4 has learned the district has no plans to discipline anyone — the department’s leadership says the move didn’t violate any rules.

Some, like Midland Beach resident Dolly Deal, welcome the idea of teaching students civic responsibility.

“Principals from every school should start teaching the children what the election process is,” Deal said. “Teach them that way. That it's important to vote.”

But Deal says the posts went too far.

“I don't think they should encourage them to vote for one particular person,” she said.

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