(Updated 4:48 p.m.) Republican State Chairman Chris Healy announced Wednesday that he filed a complaint with the State Election Enforcement Commission against the Connecticut Education Association and the Southington Education Association regarding political fliers sent home with Southington second-graders encouraging their parents to vote for Democrats on Nov. 2. Richard Terino, Southington Education Association president, said in a statement Thursday that the distribution of the flier was not authorized and was an isolated incident involving one classroom, in one school.
Copies of the fliers were included in the complaint. One of the sheets offered recommended candidates, all of which were Democrats. The other contains a comparison between the education policies of gubernatorial candidates Dan Malloy and Tom Foley and, while never specifically recommending one candidate over the other, encourages parents to “Vote for education on November 2nd.”
Distribution of the fliers, Healy said, violated two state statutes prohibiting political material without proper attribution and the distribution of political advertisements by teachers to students.
“Public school teachers using these young children as political pawns to further their own political agendas cannot be countenanced and must be dealt with swiftly and to the maximum extent allowable by law,” the complaint said.
A spokesperson for the SEEC confirmed that the complaint has been received and is being reviewed by the commission to determine whether it will be accepted.
“The Southington Education Association and administration officials have been working since yesterday to piece together details of what appears to have happened at one of our town’s elementary schools,” said Terino. “Our inquiry has determined that there was an isolated incident at Flanders Elementary School involving one document containing political information. This incident was confined to one classroom. Today, the Flanders principal sent a note of apology home with students in that one classroom who inadvertently received the information.”
Click here to read a copy of the entire complaint.