Lansing school officials release statements about campaign activity

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Administrators in the Lansing public school system recently have released statements regarding school board campaign activity.

One statement released last week concerned videos shot on school property. The other statement released last week concerned the distribution of campaign materials on school property.

"If campaign items have been distributed on school property, this action should cease immediately," school officials said in the second statement.

According to the information released by the district, state law prohibits the district from allowing the distribution in school buildings of brochures, fliers, political fact sheets or other documents that advocate in favor of an identified candidate unless all candidates are permitted to distribute such materials.

"For me, it was kind of a preemptive thing," Superintendent Dan Wessel said of the statement.

Wessel said there was a report that this activity was happening on school property. But when the superintendent asked questions about it, he was informed the activity had not occurred.

Wessel said he does not believe that recording video advertisements for campaigns on school property is illegal. But he said district officials released a separate statement about it because they did not want people to view such videos as an endorsement by the district.

"We felt it was necessary to inform our community that the district does not endorse and is not affiliated with any individual political candidate," district officials said in the statement.

Despite the concerns that have been raised, Wessel said the interest that has been shown in the Lansing school board election is a good thing.

"Civic engagement is good," he said. "It makes our communities better."

Six candidates are running for three at-large seats on the Lansing Board of Education. In a separate race, three candidates filed for one unexpired term on the Lansing school board. A fourth candidate is running a write-in campaign for the unexpired term.

The election is Nov. 2.

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