Scott E’s Blog was notified of the complaint via email. The compliant was made by a member of the community that had concerns about the use of imagery of a local school logo used in a campaign mailer from Jen Mallo. Here is a copy that mailer that I have been sent:
You can clearly (or somewhat clearly if you are old like me) see the Centennial High School logo in the back of the far right photo.
Now I have a feeling that this was not done on purpose or maliciously…but it was done and sent to many people in District 4 (based on what I have been told) in a campaign mailer for office.
The school system responded to the complaint in the following way: “Thank you for reaching out to us and bringing this to our attention. We have reviewed the campaign literature and have addressed this with the candidate and asked that they adhere to the guidance provided in the circular and no longer use the referenced picture.”
Here is a copy of the noted “Circular” reference in the response:
I asked HCPSS was this response related to bullet point #2 in the circular…here is what I got back: “Scott, that is correct. The circular applies to all political activities regardless of race or issue.”
I also asked “To your knowledge have any other candidates been warned or asked to not use photos or images in campaign material this election cycle?” and this was the response I received: “Yes, other candidates in the past have often used photos or videos taken on school property. As item #2 in the circular states, “A person may not use any Board of Education property or symbol (e.g. logo, signage) in any political campaign material or activities if the impression given is one of endorsement by the school or school system. ” As with this particular photo, we have advised candidates not to use any media captured on school property even if it doesn’t explicitly imply endorsement.”
This should be a learning moment for all candidates running for office…be careful what you share online or in mailers. Not everything is allowed…be knowledgeable about the rules before putting your campaign materials together.
On the other hand…other than being told you can not use a photo going forward I am not sure really what a big deal this is for the school system in the big scheme of things…as you can see that no real penalties exist per their response.
You can make that determination as a candidate…and as a voter how big a deal this is for you.