Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election team reportedly asked Chicago Public Schools teachers to encourage students to volunteer for her campaign by offering scholastic credit as an incentive.
Megan Crane, who is listed on LinkedIn as the deputy campaign manager on Lightfoot’s re-election team, reportedly made the request in an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers on Wednesday, which was sent to their official work inboxes, WTTW News reported.
In a copy of the email shared with the outlet, Crane reportedly noted that students who participate in the “externship program” must contribute 12 hours per week to the Lightfoot campaign to qualify for “class credit.”
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“We’re simply looking for enthusiastic, curious and hard-working young people eager to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring,” the email reportedly said.
When contacted for comment by the outlet, a spokesperson for the mayor’s campaign defended the email as part of an initiative “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” and was “done using publicly available contact information.”
The Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates reportedly denounced the email as “unethical,” telling WTTW News that she worried teachers who refused to relay the message to students could face retaliation from the mayor’s office.
Lawyers for the union also reportedly believe that the request violated Chicago’s ethics ordinance prohibits the use of public resources, including email accounts for non-official purposes, the outlet reported.
Last year, Davis Gates publicly scolded the controversial mayor as a “one–woman kamikaze” who is “unfit to lead this city” after the union reached a tentative agreement with Lightfoot’s office, which will allow schools to return to remote learning if 25% of staff test positive for COVID-19.
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A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson told WTTW News that the district will reject the request as it “does not coordinate with any political candidates or campaigns. It has not done so to date and will not be doing so.”
Nine candidates are vying to unseat Lightfoot next month as she battles to win a second term as mayor of the Windy City. Throughout her term as mayor, Lightfoot has attracted staunch criticism from both sides of the aisle with Republicans and Democrats alike blasting her policies.
Under her leadership, crime in Chicago has skyrocketed since the Black Lives Matter riots and her defund the police rhetoric of 2020 began. Lightfoot pledged not to give interviews to White reporters and has become known for questionable videos that have gone viral.
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The first round of the election is slated for Feb. 28. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote in that election, then the top-two candidates would advance to a run-off, scheduled for April 4.
The teachers’ union has reportedly endorsed Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson to replace Lightfoot.
Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf contributed to this report.