RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Richmond Public School Board Member, Tichi Pinkney-Eppes recently endorsed Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in a TV ad just weeks after a Cuccinelli campaign event at Elkhardt Middle School in her district.
Eppes wouldn’t return our calls, but Cuccinelli Reps confirm, she did spearhead that after-school event by linking the campaign with administrators at Elkhardt to get final approval for use of the facility.
CBS 6 News wanted to know if this is a conflict of interest. Just last year, RPS Spokesperson, Felicia Cosby told CBS 6, the school system tends to shy away from being part of any political campaign after questions were raised when Senator Tim Kaine’s wife stopped by a Richmond school to read to children just weeks before an election.
CBS 6 obtained documents stating RPS’ policy when it comes to advertising, sales and solicitation, but the policy for campaign events wasn’t clearly defined.
It only said “candidates for public office may not distribute campaign materials on school grounds.”
“I’m disappointed that we arguably could have violated our own policy by allowing this event to go on,” said RPS Board Chair, Jeff Bourne.
Bourne tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, the lines are blurred. He says the district frowns upon political events on school grounds, but says this mistake was made because it’s not clear what can and can’t take place in their buildings.
“We learned there was a political event at one of our schools so we learned that perhaps we need to tighten up our policies and we’re going to look at those,” said Bourne.
It’s common for political candidates to visit schools, however, some school districts in Central Virginia have strict policies in place when it comes to holding political events on school grounds.