In Arizona it is against the law to use public resources for partisan purposes. So when the head of the Pima County GOP brought the partisan nature of the March For Our Lives activity planned for this Friday, to school district officials, they had little choice but to cancel the event.
On Tuesday, Pima County GOP Chair David Eppihimer contacted Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo with his concerns about the line-up for March For Our Lives town hall to be held at Rincon-University High School. Only Democratic Party members; gubernatorial candidate Sen. Steve Farley, Rep. Dr. Randy Friese, and CD2 candidate, Yahya Yuksel, were featured on the notices of the event.
Eppihimer wrote Trujillo:
I know you are a busy man so I will be brief and to the point. I am aware of the upcoming Town Hall scheduled during 6th period this Friday at RUHS. This is an anti gun presentation by three Democrat active candidates for public office; Steve Farley, Dr. Randy Friese and Yahya Yuksel, JD. To say this is an inappropriate use of publicly funded school property is an understatement, if not illegal. Ironically, the presentation is titled Gun Violence and Public Education Funding.
I am calling on you to cancel this activity immediately, and further to make certain is is not rescheduled later at any other TUSD location. You must stop this publicly funded campaign appearance by these three candidates.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
According to MCRC Brief, Trujillo responded to Eppihimer:
Good evening Mr. Eppihimer,Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. It is our policy and obligation to ensure that all on campus activities, assemblies, and gatherings are politically, religiously, and partisan neutral. Additionally, while on school property and during work hours, it is prohibited for any of our employees to use their respective positions to promote any political, religious, or partisan viewpoint or belief with students or with colleagues who may or may not share their respective opinions. We will be working with the Rincon administration to cancel the event. If the event is to be re-scheduled, it shall be re-scheduled as an evening event, after school hours, and shall be inclusive of Republican party lawmakers and/or candidates for public office. Rincon, in addition to our other 9 high schools, is attempting to create and facilitate an “on campus” alternative to student walk outs on April 20th (commemoration of Columbine). Any and all such on campus activities shall be politically neutral on the part of the adults, with the understanding that the school and district’s ability to regulate students’ expression of their 1st amendment rights is significantly less than the extent to which these behaviors can be regulated and enforced with our employees.
Eppihimer responded to Trujillo:
Thank you Dr Trujillo for your swift action. In the event the meeting is rescheduled, which we hope will not be the case, we would have to consider carefully our participating through Republican lawmakers and /or candidates, as you suggest. You may or may not be aware that #ENOUGH is a George Soros sponsored initiative, which would seem to disqualify this event from ever being considered politically neutral, even with Republican representation.
The stated purpose of March For Our Lives, according to the organization’s website is to drive students to “create a more politically engaged and educated community. Register people in your area to vote, raise money for community engagement events and lower the violence in your area. Create morally just leadership in all facets of society.”