New York City parents reacted angrily to a pitch from mayoral candidate Eric Adams offering students school credits in exchange for working on his campaign effort.
Parents were reacting to an email from the campaign of Adams, who is currently Brooklyn Borough president, which pledged phony “classroom credit” for any teens who volunteered, the New York Post reported Saturday.
The email was sent from the official Tottenville High School account earlier this week, though Department of Education rules ban such overt political messaging.
“Absolutely outrageous,” an angry mother, Liz Cutler, told The Post. “How desperate of a person do you have to be that you need to enlist teenagers for your own political gain?
“Just call it what it is: a kid pro quo,” she quipped to the paper.
She and the other 3,694 families at Tottenville High got the solicitation email Tuesday morning, which came directly from the school’s IO Education messaging account. The email said that it was being sent on behalf of Connor Martinez, a campaign consultant for Adams and a former aide to current Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Post reported that the email and a flyer attached to it were both posted to the school’s information portals — PupilPath, which gives students the ability to keep track of tests and assignments, and Skedula, which is for teachers only and serves as a scheduling and grading platform.
“We are building out a robust program where students … will help us elect Eric Adams to become the next Mayor of New York City!” Martinez noted in the email.
Critics noted that, in addition to violating prohibitions against sending political content through official school channels, the offer of “classroom credit” for volunteer work also appeared to be bogus.
In his email, Martin said that for those volunteers chosen to work as “campaign fellows … we are offering classroom credit for participation in the program.”
But Assistant Principal William Reynolds, who supervises educational programing and assessments, told the Post: “This is the first I’ve heard about it. It’s not a program set up by the school.”
Also, the newspaper noted, Adams’ spokesman Evan Thies said that the promise of classroom credits isn’t something the campaign can directly provide.
“Our campaign is offering young people … the opportunity to gain invaluable experience, which schools and teachers can offer as class credit if they choose,” he told the paper.
The email pitch also violated Education Department rules that have been in place since 2009.
“Using school resources and distributing materials on behalf of a candidate is prohibited,” said Katie O’Hanlon, a department spokeswoman, in a statement to The Post.
The paper noted further that de Blasio was criticized in 2017 after officials at Staten Island Tech utilized the institution’s Facebook page to post about available student “internships” with the mayor’s reelection campaign.
As for the Tottenville school, officials sent out a new message on Friday to parents saying that the Adams email “was sent in error” while also apologizing for the “confusion.”
Meanwhile, Adams blasted former Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang, who appears to be leading in the polls for mayor, according to the New York Daily News.
“This city is made up of workers. This is not a startup,” Adams said during a news conference in what seemed to have been a clear shot at Yang.
“This is a city where the leader must have been a worker. People like Andrew Yang never held a job in his entire life,” he added. “And you’re not going to come to this city and think you’re going to disregard the people who make this city work. That’s not going to happen.”
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