On Friday, Douglas County Board of Education member Justin Williams wrote to Senator Rollie "Tax Hike Kidnap" Heath and demanded he apologize for his misuse of Douglas County school children in his tax hike press conference. While the teacher, who was conned into letting her 4th grade class get used as a political prop, has had to apologize to each parent for the incident, Rollie Heath so far has refused to admit fault or make amends for the inappropriate event.
Williams is not pleased that Heath's actions have "shed a negative light on the Douglas County School District."
"We believe that you exercised poor judgment before, during and after your press conference. You used Douglas County students to mislead the public into believing these children are backing your bill. Unfortunately, you chose an unknowing, non-political teacher who's lack of political savvy was insufficient to foresee the unethical situation."
Both the Peak and the Denver Post editorial board have hammered Heath for the inappropriateness of the stunt. Now it's time for Heath to fess up and make amends. That Rollie Heath hasn't apologized leads us to believe he didn't think there was anything wrong with his actions. That is troubling and casts a negative light on Heath's leadership in general.
Heath has so far tried to play the innocent card, claiming he had no prior knowledge of the decision to utilize school children as props. We, like Williams, think Heath's poor judgment requires an apology, prior knowledge or not.
Perhaps more importantly, the excuse is not even believable. Rollie Heath has been around politics a long time, including a failed Gubernatorial bid as the Democrat nominee in 2002, and knows better. Even without extensive political experience, basic common sense would have told Heath that there was no way the parent of every kid in a class from Republican bastion Douglas County would be okay with their child being used to promote a tax increase.
We agree with Justin Williams, Rollie Heath needs to apologize.
(full email after the jump)
Hello Senator Heath,
The Douglas County Board of Education has been dealing with a very unnecessary and avoidable problem that happened with you and our 4th grade class. The day was supposed to be an productive day of learning for but it turned into them being used as a tool for a $3 billion dollar tax increase.
We believe that you exercised poor judgment before, during and after your press conference. You used Douglas County students to mislead the public into believing these children are backing your bill. Unfortunately, you chose an unknowing, non-political teacher who’s lack of political savvy was insufficient to foresee the unethical situation.
This has embarrassed our teacher. She had to call each parent in her class and apologize for her poor judgment. We feel that she has properly addressed the issue and we stand behind her. But not only was she humiliated by the action personally, it shed a negative light on the Douglas County School District.
It has been well over 2 weeks since the incident occurred and we are disappointed and concerned that you have not issued a formal written apology to the teacher and each of the parents in her 4th grade class. So we politely request that you do so immediately.
Justin G. Williams
Douglas County Board of Education