Cleveland school district withholds pro-vote film for election

OHIO — The Cleveland Municipal SchoolDistrict decided to wait until after Election Day to show a student filmencouraging classmates to vote.According to Meryl Johnson, director ofcommunity relations for the Cleveland Teachers Union, district officials fearedreleasing the film before yesterday’s election would appear to be anappeal for student support of an education issue on the ballot.Yesterday’s vote on Issue 4 determined whether the city’s mayor wasto remain in control of the school district. “If Issue 4 had notbeen on the ballot, then we would have used the tapes before theelection,” said Johnson.The six-minute film, called “A WiseDecision,” was created by students with the help of Independent Picturesduring a summer training program. It focuses on the importance of voting.Quiana Moxley, who is one of the students in the film, said she believed thedistrict’s choice was the wrong one. “You have to wait untilnext November [to vote in a major election]. Why not show it when itcounts?” said Moxley, a 16-year-old junior at John F. Kennedy High School,who was quoted in a Nov. 11 article in The Plain Dealer inCleveland.Since 1998 the Cleveland School Board and the district’schief executive officer have been appointed by the city’s mayor. Inyesterday’s election, voters affirmed the policy, with unofficial resultsshowing more than 70 percent of voters in favor of mayor-controlledschools.There are approximately 4,000 students in the Cleveland SchoolDistrict who, if registered, would have been eligible to vote, saidJohnson.Johnson said “A Wise Decision” will be used in thesocial studies curriculum later this year.