Hillsborough School Board member suggests governor might use public school for politics

03/26/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: Rick Scott, April Griffin, Hillsborough County Schools


April Griffin.

photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF News (July 2012).

Governor Rick Scott came to Tampa Wednesday afternoon to speak with Jefferson High School students about the costs of college tuition.

But Hillsborough School Board member April Griffin suggests the governor could be using public school resources and students as a backdrop for a re-election campaign commercial.

We asked the governor’s press office for a response. They said they could not answer whether Scott’s campaign planned to film at Jefferson.

As of air time we had not received a response from Scott’s re-election campaign.

Here is the text of the letter to the School Board / Superintendent:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:31:00 AM Message From: April Griffin Subject: Gov. Scott visit to Jefferson High School To: MaryEllen Elia Jeff Eakins Cathy Valdes Carol Kurdell Susan Valdes Doretha Edgecomb Cindy Stuart Stacy White


Madame Superintendent,

Based on Gov Scott's past actions, I'm concerned that he may be forcing us to be an unwitting part of a campaign ad and that students are missing very valuable classroom instruction time in order to advance his political campaign. Can we be assured that no political advertising crews are allowed on site today for his round table and that the parents of any student participating be notified that their child may be used in a campaign ad?

This seems to be a recurring issue. For example, his campaign re-election site uses countless pictures from official business and just last week, he held an official round table with seniors in Pinellas County that was later used in a television ad.

Our schools and students should be open to public officials, but should not be used as campaign props. We have a very strict no politicking policy and I ask that we hold all politicians to the same standard.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

At your service,

April Griffin School Board Member District 6 (Countywide) Hillsborough County Public Schools (813) --------- office (813) -------- cell

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications (including e-mail) to or from state officials regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.

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good job, Ms. Griffin, for calling out Rick Scott on this! I think it's terrible to drag kids out of class for a campaign ad photo op, but I'm not surprised that Scott would do it though. I also like how Griffin won't back down on her criticism of Mary Ellen Elia, who appears to be a real bully.

Please, when April Griffin has something intelligent to say then you can put it in print, which will probably be never!!! Believe me, before she was elected to the School Board, who knew April Griffin - nobody. She is using her position to make herself known and not by good hard work but by a big mouth. Her criticism of Ms. Elia and Gov. Scott are way out of line. There is an old saying, think before you speak.


It is comical that April Griffin would be concerned that the Governor is using our schools for political gain. She is doing the same thing! She wasn't going to run for reelection to pursue a county post. That didn't work out so now she is making mountains out of molehills to seek reelection to the school board. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!