The Howell school district is refusing to let the Daily Press & Argus use a building for a school board election candidate forum, even though officials had already given permission to use its facilities. Superintendent Chuck Breiner said the forum violates a policy that prohibits political campaigns in schools.
The decision was made even though the newspaper has hosted political debates at the Howell High School auditorium since 1998 — including four in 2006 — and had received permission to host a school candidate forum Monday at Hutchings Elementary School.
Campaigning? That's the biggest pile of horse manure that I've seen in a long long time. First off, Howell High School auditorum, which last I checked was part of a school on Howell grounds, has had candidate forums for various offices for years and years. I've seen many of those firsthand. Now all of a sudden, when it involves Breiner's own job, it's now banned on "campaigning?"
Secondly, this is not campaigning in the legal sense. This is an education opprotunity for the voters to learns more information about the candidates. If Breiner wants to ban "campaigning", then he could just say that no literature for the candidates, nor signs, are to be allowed on school grounds. Case closed. That is a much better decision that could have been made rather than flat out censorship of political speech.
Too bad for Howell that Chuck Breiner did not get the job in Saginaw.
There is good news however, the candidate forum has been rescheduled. Also from the Argus
The location for Monday’s Daily Press & Argus candidate forum for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education has been changed to the Howell Recreation Center at 925 W. Grand River Ave., just a couple blocks east of Howell High School.
The decision to change locations for the forum will stand, despite a press release issued by Howell Superintendent Chuck Breiner Thursday morning saying he would reverse his decision and allow use of Hutchings Elementary for the candidate forum.
Press & Argus editors explained they cannot risk having Howell Public Schools withdraw approval for use of the facility again.
The forum was originally set for Hutchings Elementary School. Permission for the event was withdrawn Wednesday by Breiner, who said the forum did not comply with the district’s policy against the use of school facilities for political campaigns.
The Daily Press & Argus has been holding candidate forums in the district for nearly a decade.
The event is set for 7-9 p.m. Monday. The Daily Press & Argus is soliciting questions for the candidates at firstname.lastname@example.org.