Wake County Schools

Wake school board candidate under fire for enlisting students

Posted September 30, 2011 9:43 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2011 5:44 p.m. EDT

— Wake County is investigating whether a school board candidate violated campaign rules by soliciting student volunteers. 

District 5 candidate Cynthia Matson said a notice about volunteering for her opponent, Jim Martin, appeared on an online calendar for the Enloe High School Key Club.

"To misuse school resources to get that message out is not allowed," Matson said Friday. 

Matson said campaigns should be kept away from the schools and student groups that meet at school with advisers. 

"My biggest concern is that Mr. Martin knew this (and) chose to do it anyway," she said. 

Martin said the post on the group's volunteer opportunities calender was not his idea. 

"Members of the Key Club contacted our campaign asking for ways to get engaged," he said. 

Martin said students wanted to be involved in the democratic process, so four of them went door to door talking to voters on behalf of his campaign. 

The Key Club is a national private organization, separate from the school system, Martin said. He said school leaders told him it was OK for the students to volunteer. 

"The only issue is, it must be completely voluntary," Martin said. 

Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata said there is an investigation underway. 

"We took immediate action shutting down the link because it was not proper," Tata said. 

Martin says if Matson thinks campaigns should be kept from schools, then she should not be campaigning at football games. 

"I stopped it immediately and have been to many football games, and I have not continued to do that," Matson said.