Monroeville Dems, GOP butt heads over blood drive
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Members of the Monroeville Democratic and Republican committees were at odds last week over a proposed blood drive at Gateway High School.
Gateway Superintendent Nina Zetty denied a request from the Monroeville Republican Committee to hold a blood drive Nov. 2, the day before the general election. An email from Zetty to school district officials cited district Policy 321 — which states “school property and school time, paid for by all the people, may not be used for political purposes” — and Policy 913, which prohibits events on school grounds that “promotes, favors or opposes the candidacy of any political candidate for election.”
Zetty said at the Sept. 25 school board meeting that the event would create the perception of support for a particular political party.
“Pick any other day after Election Day, and it's not a problem,” Zetty said.
Republican Committee Chairman Chad Stubenbort argued that the blood drive would not be a political rally with signs and fliers but instead an opportunity to “show that the committee is doing good in the community.”
For every 50 units of blood donated under Gateway's name, the Central Blood Bank would award a Gateway senior a scholarship for up to $3,000, Stubenbort said.
School director Jan Rawson, who is chairwoman of the Monroeville Democratic Committee, said the timing of the blood drive is questionable.
“If you would hold this after Election Day, I would gladly come and help you,” Rawson said. “I just think the timing is poor, and it's kind of a conflict for me to vote “yes” on this. I have to consider my (2013) candidates.”
There was no actual board vote on the request. The denial was an administrative decision that Zetty made.
Stubenbort said it's hypocritical for district officials to set a precedent by allowing a church to hold services at Gateway Middle School on Sundays and then deny a political party from holding a community event.
Rawson pointed out that she voted against the church services at the middle school.
Stubenbort said that logistically, the event could be held after Election Day, but “to hold an event like this would gain some PR for us.”
“I'm sure it would,” Rawson responded. “I'm sure that's the purpose.”
Rawson said that allowing a Republican blood drive would call into question her allegiance to her own political party.
“You being the Republican chairman, and me being the Democratic chairwoman, you should understand my views that (the blood drive) will call attention to your Republican candidates. I have to look after mine.”
Five of the eight school directors who were at the meeting last week are members of the Democratic committee, and one is a member of the Republican committee.
As of Monday, the blood drive tentatively was scheduled for Nov. 2 at the Monroeville Public Library, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., pending approval by the Central Blood Bank.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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