Tallahassee, FL – Today Representative Karen Castor Dentel, a public school teacher from central Florida, sent the following letter to Governor Rick Scott condemning the Republican Party of Florida’s duplicitous use of teachers in a political ad without their knowledge or consent. One of the Teacher of the Year finalists featured in the ad, filmed using taxpayer dollars at a taxpayer funded event, called the RPOF’s actions “inappropriate.”
“Educators and fair-minded citizens across the state are very disappointed by the lack of judgment of the Republican Party,” writes Representative Castor Dentel. “Public servants should feel secure when they attend education events at your invitation that they are not being used as political pawns or props for inappropriate advertising.”
Read the full text Representative Castor Dentel’s letter to Governor Scott below:
Dear Governor Scott,
A recent article in the Tampa Tribune reported that the Republican Party of Florida used footage of public school teachers without their consent in a political ad supporting your campaign for reelection. According to the article, The Teacher of the Year finalists were attending an event paid for with public dollars and were interviewed by public employees – – only to later find themselves used by your Party in a political ad to enhance your campaign for reelection.
As a teacher, I know personally how important the strong support of our political leaders is to Florida’s teachers. As Governor, you recognize this too because you invited some very talented teachers to Tallahassee for a nonpartisan event celebrating the achievements of all Florida’s educators.
However, the videos of this public celebration surely were misused by the Republican Party’s partisan distribution of the videos without the knowledge or consent of the educators who were interviewed. At least one of those educators called the use of her video “inappropriate.”
Educators and fair-minded citizens across the state are very disappointed by the lack of judgment of the Republican Party. Teachers like myself are public servants who strive to be good role models for Florida’s children. I know you try to do the same, but your Party has violated the public trust.
As titular head of the Republican Party of Florida, I hope you will express your strong opposition to using Florida’s best teachers in a political advertisement without their consent. Public servants should feel secure when they attend education events at your invitation that they are not being used as political pawns or props for inappropriate advertising.
Representative Karen Castor Dentel