The Case Against Baker, Part 1

Public speakers at recent school board meetings and newspaper editorials have praised Superintendent Scott Baker as if the man can do no wrong. We have ethical concerns with the now departing superintendent. Here is one such concern.

On October 16, 2021, we wrote an article about political advertisements appearing on a cheerleading banner at the Massaponax High School stadium. The issue isn’t whether the cheerleaders had a legit fundraiser. The issue is that political advertising clearly violates school board policy because this was a school activity on school grounds with school employees present. Yet, Dr Baker did nothing to address this issue. We encourage you to read our original article to put this into context.

To our knowledge, no one has been held accountable. Superintendent Scott Baker has not issued an apology or acknowledgement of the problem. We emailed Dr Baker and Massaponax High School activities director Stan Clements for a response. Neither have responded to the emails we sent on October 16.

There is another potential problem. If the students were responsible for selling sponsor slots on the banner, then state law was violated. In 22.1-79.3 of the Virginia code, it states “Local school boards shall develop and implement policies to ensure that public school students are not required to convey or deliver any materials that (i) advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for elective office”. School Board Policy GBG addresses this. Baker is responsible for implementing this policy by ensuring school staff comply.

Dr Baker allowed this policy violation to occur without anyone being held accountable. The banner appeared more than once in front of hundreds if not thousands of people. Is it ethical for a Superintendent to promote certain candidates up for election?

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