Campbell Elementary apologizes for pushing anti-marijuana agenda
Campbell Elementary School is in trouble for sending an automated phone message that Anchorage School District officials say should have never been released.
ASD spokesperson Heidi Embley said the message went out Monday evening to the parents of every child at the school. In the message, a woman’s voice urges parents to attend the Tuesday night Anchorage Assembly meeting and speak out against a marijuana business hoping to open in the area.
“It hits too close to home, it hits too close to our school. Please, we are asking for as many families as possible to make an appearance at the municipal Assembly meeting tomorrow night to show who this will be having an impact on: our children,” the message said.
Embley said the message was written and recorded by a Campbell Elementary School staff member without first being approved by the school’s principal.
“The principal and the staff member discussed the message,” she said. “However, the principal did not see the exact script.”
Either way, Embley said sending the message was against school policy.
“It was an inappropriate use of district resources,” Embley said. “It should not be advocating a position whether in the community or a political position using district resources.”
While there are three marijuana businesses up for review by the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night, the phone message clearly targeted Raspberry Roots, which is located more than 3,000 feet from Campbell Elementary.
Raspberry Roots owner Kim Kole spent 13 years as a science teacher at South High School and was in disbelief when she first heard the message.
“Clearly this is a sensitive topic or she wouldn’t have wanted to send the call in the first place and so she should have taken responsibility and done that herself as opposed to having her secretary do this,” Kole said.
On Tuesday morning, Campbell Elementary principal Michelle Johansen sent an apology message.
“Unfortunately, words were used which implied partisanship,” Johansen said. “This is not the intent or policy of the district or our school and I apologize for the message portrayed in the call.”
But Kole said the apology is too little too late.
“We cannot undo what was done,” Kole said. “I don’t think we are doing anything wrong and I don’t see a problem going through. We just need support tonight.”
ASD will be reviewing what happened internally to decide if any disciplinary action should be taken.
Other marijuana businesses up for review Tuesday night include Enlighten Alaska in Spenard and Alaskabuds in downtown Anchorage.
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