Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent cease-and-desist letters to three Texas school districts, including the Lewisville Independent School District, citing unlawful election engineering.
The attorney general’s office believes the districts used taxpayer resources to advocate for or against certain candidates.
“My office fully encourages Texas schools to educate their students on civic duties and assist them in registering to vote. But pushing faculty or others to vote for a particular person is a clear violation of the Texas Election and Education Codes,” Paxton said.
He continued, “These school districts must understand that they are responsible, as all state agencies are, for refraining from spending public funds on advocating for or opposing political candidates. The electioneering of these school districts is unacceptable and a poor example of the civic responsibility, integrity, and honesty that Texas educators should model for our students.”
In addition to Lewisville ISD, Paxton also sent letters to the Holliday and Brazosport independent school districts.
In Lewisville, the attorney general is calling for the district to take down a tweet and video on the district’s homepage. The video is called “Let Your Voice Be Heard.”
The attorney general’s office pointed to one part of the video, where the superintendent says, “It is time for you and me to choose legislators that serve us as constituents, instead of being worried about the fringe of their party,” as problematic.
In a statement released to NBC 5, the Lewisville ISD said:
“Lewisville ISD believes a culture of voting is vital to the future of our state and country. The right to freely elect leaders is the very definition of American Freedom and we are asking students and staff to vote and understand what impact a legislator may have on their daily lives. The district respectfully disagrees with the Office of the Attorney General on this matter.
“The tweet referenced in the letter was taken down on Feb. 7, one day after it was posted, when we became aware our intent may have been misinterpreted.
“We dispute any characterization of the district’s get out the vote campaign as anything other than an effort to engage the LISD staff and community in their constitutional right to vote and advocate for themselves. The district will reiterate again with staff that they alone can make the decision to support a candidate and measure, and the district does not wish to impose the beliefs of its Board or Superintendent.”