Hamilton trustees to take ‘heat’ on election campaign rules

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees are preparing to take charge of the rules around election campaigning at schools as a federal vote looms this fall.

Board chair Todd White said a policy is needed because an existing two-page election protocol on events like all-candidates meetings is solely administered by staff with “no check and balance” from trustees.

He said he believes trustees, not staff, are responsible for political matters and should be accountable if anyone challenges the rules.

“There really isn’t anything more political than our elections campaign protocol,” White told the board’s policy committee, which agreed to ask staff to prepare a scoping report, the first step in creating a policy.

“To me, it’s not an operational thing that it would be fair for staff to put their foot down on or be pressured by a political candidate or something along those lines. Our responsibility is to take that heat.”

The protocol, which applies to federal, provincial and municipal elections, has 11 rules “that must strictly be followed” and is drawn from one drafted by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.

It prohibits staff and students from wearing buttons or clothing “of a political nature” during school hours and forbids political lawn signs and partisan pamphlets on school property.

Candidates are not allowed to canvass on school property but can be invited to participate in all-candidates forums “for curriculum purposes.”

Such meetings are limited to students in “relevant classes.” Candidates must be given equal time to speak but are not allowed to criticize other candidates.

“No media is to be present,” the protocol reads in bold capital letters, the only provision so highlighted. “The visit is to be strictly for the students’ benefit and not used as a ‘photo op.’”

Candidates are also prohibited from taking photos or making audio or visual recording on school property.

Though most employees are free to use personal social media accounts to campaign for trustee candidates during their own time, the protocol recommends school administrators and senior staff refrain from doing so.

Staff is also advised that it shouldn’t use social media accounts to retweet, favourite or like candidates’ social media posts.

“These can be perceived as endorsements and must be avoided,” the protocol states.

Hamilton trustees to take ‘heat’ on election campaign rules

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees are preparing to take charge of the rules around election campaigning at schools as a federal vote looms this fall.

Board chair Todd White said a policy is needed because an existing two-page election protocol on events like all-candidates meetings is solely administered by staff with “no check and balance” from trustees.

He said he believes trustees, not staff, are responsible for political matters and should be accountable if anyone challenges the rules.

“There really isn’t anything more political than our elections campaign protocol,” White told the board’s policy committee, which agreed to ask staff to prepare a scoping report, the first step in creating a policy.

“To me, it’s not an operational thing that it would be fair for staff to put their foot down on or be pressured by a political candidate or something along those lines. Our responsibility is to take that heat.”

The protocol, which applies to federal, provincial and municipal elections, has 11 rules “that must strictly be followed” and is drawn from one drafted by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.

It prohibits staff and students from wearing buttons or clothing “of a political nature” during school hours and forbids political lawn signs and partisan pamphlets on school property.

Candidates are not allowed to canvass on school property but can be invited to participate in all-candidates forums “for curriculum purposes.”

Such meetings are limited to students in “relevant classes.” Candidates must be given equal time to speak but are not allowed to criticize other candidates.

“No media is to be present,” the protocol reads in bold capital letters, the only provision so highlighted. “The visit is to be strictly for the students’ benefit and not used as a ‘photo op.’”

Candidates are also prohibited from taking photos or making audio or visual recording on school property.

Though most employees are free to use personal social media accounts to campaign for trustee candidates during their own time, the protocol recommends school administrators and senior staff refrain from doing so.

Staff is also advised that it shouldn’t use social media accounts to retweet, favourite or like candidates’ social media posts.

“These can be perceived as endorsements and must be avoided,” the protocol states.

Hamilton trustees to take ‘heat’ on election campaign rules

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees are preparing to take charge of the rules around election campaigning at schools as a federal vote looms this fall.

Board chair Todd White said a policy is needed because an existing two-page election protocol on events like all-candidates meetings is solely administered by staff with “no check and balance” from trustees.

He said he believes trustees, not staff, are responsible for political matters and should be accountable if anyone challenges the rules.

“There really isn’t anything more political than our elections campaign protocol,” White told the board’s policy committee, which agreed to ask staff to prepare a scoping report, the first step in creating a policy.

“To me, it’s not an operational thing that it would be fair for staff to put their foot down on or be pressured by a political candidate or something along those lines. Our responsibility is to take that heat.”

The protocol, which applies to federal, provincial and municipal elections, has 11 rules “that must strictly be followed” and is drawn from one drafted by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.

It prohibits staff and students from wearing buttons or clothing “of a political nature” during school hours and forbids political lawn signs and partisan pamphlets on school property.

Candidates are not allowed to canvass on school property but can be invited to participate in all-candidates forums “for curriculum purposes.”

Such meetings are limited to students in “relevant classes.” Candidates must be given equal time to speak but are not allowed to criticize other candidates.

“No media is to be present,” the protocol reads in bold capital letters, the only provision so highlighted. “The visit is to be strictly for the students’ benefit and not used as a ‘photo op.’”

Candidates are also prohibited from taking photos or making audio or visual recording on school property.

Though most employees are free to use personal social media accounts to campaign for trustee candidates during their own time, the protocol recommends school administrators and senior staff refrain from doing so.

Staff is also advised that it shouldn’t use social media accounts to retweet, favourite or like candidates’ social media posts.

“These can be perceived as endorsements and must be avoided,” the protocol states.