HORATIO, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – A member of the Arkansas House of Representatives got a lesson in election law when a Sevier County high school put a stop to a student’s work on her re-election campaign using school resources.
Horatio Superintendent Zane Vanderpool says the school immediately halted the student’s assignment developing a campaign website, logo, and t-shirt designs for Rep. DeAnn Vaught’s re-election campaign when they learned about it from a concerned parent in February.
Vaught is the representative for Arkansas District 4, which includes Sevier, Little River, and part of Howard County. She also serves on several committees, including the House Education Committee, and she is up for re-election in 2023.
Arkansas election law prohibits the use of publicly funded property and resources for campaign materials. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor.
Vanderpool says he was made aware of the project the day after Vaught visited the student’s Business and Marketing class on Feb. 10.
According to school officials, the teacher was not aware a school project collaborating with a student for campaign materials is against the law or school district policy. The teacher was told to end the work and have the student choose another subject for the assignment.
Rep. Vaught confirmed she did visit the campus in February because the student wanted to show her something related to the project. She says neither she nor the student knew it was not allowed. The classroom teacher later notified her that the project would be discontinued.
According to Vaught, the student reached out to her because they wanted to help with the campaign. She says the student continued to work on their own time, and there was no further involvement with the school.
Vaught says the DA told her no rules were broken; Sevier County Prosecuting Attorney Erin B. Hunter tells KTAL/KMSS she never spoke to her.