LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF DOUGLAS COUNTY SENTINEL 2016-05-20
From Douglas County School System Superintendent
Dr. Gordon Pritz, 770-651-2033
Email from Sparks to school system employees ‘inappropriate’
Most Douglas County School System employees received a political email in their school system account from County Commission Chair Candidate Roy Sparks on April 24. I communicated with all employees regarding the email and let them know that it was inappropriate, contained misinformation and that it is a violation of Board Policies KI and KJ for political campaign material to be distributed through the schools and displayed on property owned by the school system. The candidate went to a great deal of trouble to “hijack” email addresses in what I consider to be a highly unethical manner. Here are excerpts from just one of the many complaints that were voiced after employees received the candidate’s email:
“I am a Douglas County resident and a teacher with the Douglas County School System. Today I received a political email in my school mail from Roy Sparks. I am appalled that this candidate would target teachers through official school email. His method of contacting teachers is unethical and a misuse of a government email system. None of us have time to attend to political campaign letters on the job, and we are specifically prohibited from using school system equipment for such purposes.
I can’t imagine how this candidate was able to access the system, nor do I think it was an approved email, with it not being official school business.”
A number of employees reported that they were enraged that he misused our email system during this critical annual testing time to spew political diatribe for his own personal gain. I have asked the candidate not to bother our employees in the future at their place of work, particularly during testing, and to refrain from sending campaign material to all school district email addresses. As of this date I have yet to receive the courtesy of a reply from Mr. Sparks.
While the candidate has a right to his own opinion, he continues to spread misinformation, is ignorant of facts or choses to deliberately perpetuate untruths on the public. For example, in his email to our staff he states that the Board of Education voted to approve a tax abatement project. If he was an informed candidate he would know that such project is not within the authority of a Board of Education.
Responsible and informed candidates, whether they are local, state or national, should always be truthful in their campaigns, particularly when it pertains to public education.
Signed by Gordon Pritz
Superintendent, Douglas County School System