Recruitment at school violates rule

October 28, 1994|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Sun Staff Writer

A candidate for the House of Delegates from Essex attempted to recruit students from a Baltimore County middle school yesterday, a month after the superintendent told principals not to allow such recruitment.

Michael J. Davis, a Republican candidate in the 6th District, said a public address announcement at Stemmers Run Middle School on Stemmers Road seeking volunteer campaign workers is an example of "how government works, how people get elected."

Mr. Davis, an engineer for AT&T Corp., said he also recruited students at Perry Hall Middle School on Ebenezer Road, shortly after the primary election Sept. 13.

Christina Satterfield, Mr. Davis' campaign manager, said yesterday that she visited the Stemmers Run and Perry Hall schools "to get volunteers for our campaign. I received good cooperation from the administrations at both schools."

After a similar incident last month involving a campaign aide to County Executive Roger B. Hayden, Superintendent Stuart Berger notified the county's 158 principals and administrators that using taxpayer-supported institutions for political campaigning was inappropriate and was not permitted.

Dr. Berger's order, which was sent in writing and electronically, was made after the Hayden aide called several county high schools and asked officials to read an announcement soliciting student volunteers to work for the Hayden campaign.

One such recruiting announcement was made at Overlea High School. Principal Norm Smith called it a "mistake" that would not be repeated.

"Dr. Berger told the system's principals and administrators that no staff members would allow students to be used to either endorse or detract from a political candidate," Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman, said yesterday.

"This latest incident was taken very seriously, and it appears Dr. Berger's message needs to be re-emphasized."

Under the county's Student Service Learning Program, each student is required to put in 75 hours of community service before graduating.

A student can fulfill part of that obligation by volunteering to work for a candidate for public office and learning about the political process.

Tom Evans, the principal at Perry Hall Middle, said no recruiting by Mr. Davis or his representatives was allowed "to my knowledge."

Henry Wagner, principal at Stemmers Run, did not respond to several telephone calls.

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