Chicago mayor’s campaign asks public school teachers to tell students about volunteer program

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign sent an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers asking them to notify students that the campaign is seeking volunteers as the mayor pursues reelection.

“As the race heats up, we’re looking to enrich our office through what we call our externship program. Could you please share this opportunity with your students?” Lightfoot for Chicago deputy campaign manager Megan Crane said in the email. “We’re simply looking for enthusiastic, curious and hard-working young people eager to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring.”

“Students are eligible to earn class credit through our volunteer program,” Crane noted.

WTTW News reported that the number of teachers who got the message was not clear. A spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools communicated to the outlet that “as a rule, the district does not coordinate with any political candidates or campaigns. It has not done so to date and will not be doing so.”

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Lightfoot, who was sworn in on May 20, 2019, is running for reelection in the city’s mayoral contest.

“From the very start, we’ve been intentional in our efforts to provide young people with the opportunity to engage with our campaign, learn more about the importance of civic engagement, and participate in the most American of processes,” the Lightfoot campaign said in a statement.

“This is a common practice that has been utilized in city, state, and federal level campaigns for decades, and has given countless high school and college students the opportunity to learn more about the election process. All of our recruitment was done using publicly available contact information. All LFC campaign staff have been reminded about the solid wall that must exist between campaign and official activities and that contacts with any city of Chicago, or other sister agency employees, including CPS employees, even through publicly available sources is off limits. Period,” the statement said.

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