School District Sued For Influencing Votes on High School Field Trip

VoteEverywhere you look today in America, there is pressure or encouragement to vote., the popular social networking page has an application on the homepage asking if users have voted today. has a map option to see where the nearest voting facility is. Twitter is trending #govote. MTV is still sponsoring their political involvement campaign ‘Vote or Die’.

It seems political activist groups and parents at a Cincinnati high school are not happy about the one place they feel students should not be discussing politics: their school.

Hughes High School is part of the Cincinnati Public Schools district and is reportedly being sued by the anti-tax political activism group The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) for a field trip the school’s principal, Virginia Rhodes, approved.

Rhodes’ students were allegedly taken on a field trip to a Hamilton County Board of Elections headquarters by a social studies teacher and shown how to vote, with only sample Democratic ballots, on October 13, 2010.

Cincinnati Public Schools District has since suspended Rhodes with pay for two weeks according to the Huffington Post, and a hearing is scheduled for Dennis McFadden, the teacher who actually took the students on the field trip.

COAST argues that the field trip was in violation of a precedent within the district and that since students were not provided “equal access” to all candidates and, according to Chris Finney, COAST’s attorney, the field trip resulted in “one-sided political activity.”

“Students were accompanied to and met at the board by people associated with Democratic campaigns,” Finney added, which he also deemed inappropriate.

Do you believe a simple school field trip has become intertwined with a larger, more complex political agenda or do you think Hughes High School was in the wrong and should be reprimanded?

One Response to “School District Sued For Influencing Votes on High School Field Trip”

  1. Theresa says:

    I think this is pretty silly. It’s AWESOME that someone thought to include a field trip of this sort. The voting process can be a little intimidating, I’m sure most of the kids appreciated the opportunity to learn more.THIS is the type of education we need, right? How to survive in the real world, HOW TO VOTE! I think it’s fabulous.

    Were they only shown HOW to vote, or were they asked to actually fill out ballots? MOST students aren’t even old enough to vote, so why does it matter if they were only shown democratic ballots?

    As far as being accompanied by leaders of Democratic campaigns – yes, I guess that’s a little odd. It would have been nice to achieve a greater balance when introducing them to the political process. Realistically though, it’s not the end of the world. Republicans could make a presence at schools just as Democrats can.

    I feel like this was organized by people who care about the important lessons we need to teach youth – that their voices WILL BE HEARD. It makes sense to place ‘rules’ about political fairness but to sue? That’s just ridiculous and all it does is teach kids to be afraid of entering politics.

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