Fla. School Board Members Angry Over Michelle Obama Visit

Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012 11:02 AM

By Andra Varin

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Some school board members are upset about Michelle Obama’s visit Tuesday to a Florida high school, saying the first lady should not be pushing her husband’s re-election bid at a public school.
 
Miami-Dade School Board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla called for the cancellation of the event at Barbara Goleman Senior High in Miami Lakes, according to The Miami Herald. Another board member, Carlos Curbelo, asked the board’s attorney to determine whether the visit was legal.
 
“Allowing the first lady of the United States to use one of our schools explicitly to benefit the president’s re-election campaign is inappropriate and sends the wrong message to our students, employees, and to taxpayers – even if the president’s campaign is willing to pay for all costs resulting from the event,” Curbelo wrote in the letter to board attorney Walter Harvey.
 
 “There’s a difference between official visits to schools by elected leaders and events that are for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of a political campaign,” Curbelo, who was worked as a Republican strategist, told the Herald.
 
Diaz de la Portilla, a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives, said in a statement: “The use of public schools whose only focus should be to educate our children for political gain is downright wrong. Don’t these liberals have boundaries? Our schools are places for learning, not places for politicking.”
 
Harvey told the Herald that outside groups, including political ones, can apply to lease public school facilities. Students are on summer break, and Harvey said the district will not be spending any money on the event.

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