Lt. Gov. Reeves’ planned visit to Lafayette schools causes stir

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When Lafayette County School Superintendent Adam Pugh was asked by school board attorney Gray Tollison if Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves could come to the school and speak to teachers today after school let out, Pugh said he was thinking like a school official and not a politician.

“Anytime a state elected official wants to come to our school I extend that invitation because I’m proud of what we have here and want to show it off,” Pugh said this morning.

Tollison, who is also a state senator representing Oxford and seeking re-election in November, asked Pugh if Reeves could come to the school Wednesday at about 3:45 to address the teachers and open it up for a question and answer session, according to the email. It did not say what Reeves planned to discuss with the teachers. Pugh then sent out an email inviting the teachers by choice to meet with Reeves.

Email newsletter signup

The email eventually wound up in the inboxes of local Democratic candidates who opposed the visit by Reeves, in fear that Reeves would be pushing a political agenda at the school for himself, fellow Republican candidates running in November and try to convince them not to support Initiative 42, which would require the Legislature to fully fund schools.

Alderman and House of Representative Democratic candidate Jay Hughes was disappointed in the school approving the visit by Reeves so close to an election.

“At a time when our teachers are being ridiculed and attacked for daring to having independent thoughts, it offends me to my very core that our elected leaders are fighting the people, and then scheduling campaign stops in our schools,” Hughes said. “This type of tired old politics is wrong … it is long past time that partisan politics be removed from schools.”

Reeves and Tollison could not be reached for comment.

Pugh said despite the upcoming election, Reeves is still the lieutenant governor of Mississippi.

“I am not looking to promote one political view over another, but when a state elected official asks to come — whether it’s a lieutenant governor, governor or state auditor — we want to showcase our school and we want our elected officials to see what we’re doing. No matter who is in the office, the office demands respect.”

Reeves’ office called to cancel the visit Tuesday afternoon, according to Pugh.