AG Paxton sends letters to three Texas school districts he says are unlawfully electioneering

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued cease and desist letters to three Texas school districts he believes are participating in unlawful electioneering.

Brazosport, Lewisville and Holliday school districts all received warnings from Paxton Wednesday, condemning them for advocating specific candidates and policies to their staff— a violation of state law.

While school districts are free to promote engagement and help students with voter registration, Paxton says they are not allowed to use funds and other resources to promote or discourage voting for candidates, as these actions are a “clear violation of the Texas Election and Education Codes.”

The incident is just one more altercation in an ongoing struggle to determine the appropriate involvement of public education organizations in primary and general elections. For months, tensions between public education advocates and groups of conservatives have been high.

Much of the conflict can be attributed to a “culture of voting” resolution promoted by the civic engagement group, Texas Educators Vote (TEV). Following the urgings of TEV’s resolution, participating school districts were bussing teachers and students to voting booths for the March primaries.

In December, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, brought the actions of TEV to Paxton’s attention and Paxton deemed the act illegal. Now, the Texas Attorney General is calling out school officials for using public social media accounts and school money to promote certain policies and advocate for certain candidates.

As an example, The Texas Tribune cited Brazosport Superintendent, Danny Massey tweeting in support of Scott Milder — a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor and known public education advocate. Massey’s tweet was later retweeted by Brazoswood High School’s Twitter account.

Paxton responded to these actions in a statement, saying, “The electioneering of these school districts is unacceptable and a poor example of the civic responsibility, integrity, and honesty that Texas educators should model for our students.”

For detailed coverage on Texas Attorney General Paxton, visit our Paxton Under Fire series.

76 COMMENTS

    • Voting as a block is like being sheeple. Teachers are rising up finally but against the wrong issues. Time for teachers, parents and other independent thinkers to rise up to support teachers to receive Social Security like other state and federal employees, to receive much better pay and health insurance options, to teach classical education, to lead prayer in schools, to teach civics, to have access to textbooks free of historical errors rather than ipads not accessable by parents. If a group of parents and teachers did a study of teacher pay rates in their county, they would find, as I did, that the rates are fixed. Teacher pay rates in each ISD are online. Teachers are being used by another group again. Teachers are gifted. So are parents and students. Time for teachers and parents to control their schools for the future of our country’s next generation. Remove the swamp creatures in our state education organizations. Teachers, parents and interested citizens have abandoned their rights to a truly excellent education system. Now they will have to work ten times as hard to retrieve local education systems of which our Founding Fathers would be proud. If I wore a wrist band, it would be Red, White, and Blue.

    • Jackie King no prayer in the classroom. religion is off limits and should be taught by their parents or church. Schools are SCHOOLS and are NOT churches.

      If you insist on prayer, then let’s make sure we pray to Satan, the Spaghetti Monster (I believe they have a colander as their statue to pray to and worship), Hindu,Humanist, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish Gods et al or this is a non-starter. No religion can be endorsed by the US Government. Period. Perhaps you lived in Iran in a past life and are confused where you live now.

    • Few things. There is no suppression since the AG agrees that voter registration is perfectly fine on campus. It’s official school accounts supporting a candidate that is not. You mentioned rules changes, and I couldn’t see any. There are clear rules on electioneering, at least here in Texas. As for gerrymandering, you may want to look it up, so, you may have some understanding of how long ago it started and how it has been utilized. Oh, and schools are not a democracy. Students(generally) do what the administration and teachers tell you.

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