This week, Mustang Schools superintendent, Dr. Sean McDaniel, turned himself in to authorities for using district resources to promote and endorse a candidate.
“This should concern every taxpayer in Oklahoma,” says Pam Pollard, State GOP Chair. “The law clearly forbids superintendents and school employees from using school resources to campaign for a candidate or issue on the ballot. If they want to campaign with their own time and money, that is fine. But it’s not okay to use local and state taxpayer dollars to advance a political agenda.”
McDaniel admits he used his position and district resources to encourage voters to support one of his employees in the Senate District 45 race.
In 2010, then-Yukon Superintendent Bill Denton attempted to distribute political materials in his district’s classrooms prompting a parent to file a lawsuit.
During that hearing, Judge Patricia Parrish admonished Denton not to “engage in advocacy within public schools” and said any superintendent who does this again will be acting at his or her “own peril.”
“This is not a partisan issue. This has become a recurring event of school employees using school resources for electioneering,” says Pollard. “School superintendents are government employees who have a lot of influence in their communities. Election laws exist to promote fairness to all candidates and we must respect that.”
Oklahoma law states that in no way can a state employee, on state time, or using state resources, advocate for or against a candidate or ballot issue.
Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields must now decide whether to criminally charge Sean McDaniel per state statute.