September 9, 2009
(AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain has moved a campaign rally planned for Wednesday from a Fairfax County high school following complaints that the school should not host a partisan event during classroom hours.
School officials were told the move was made because the gym at Fairfax High School, with a capacity of 6,500, was too small, Regnier said.
The McCain campaign did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Tuesday.
School system policy states that "school buildings and grounds may not be used for campaign activities during school hours."
But Superintendent Jack Dale agreed to make an exception, saying the rally would be a good educational experience. He also noted that he had made an exception for a campaign event in July at Robinson High School for Democratic nominee Barack Obama, although that was not while school was in session.
Senior government students at Fairfax High School would have been allowed to attend the rally Wednesday morning if they chose, Regnier said. The school system would have received $10,208 in rent from the McCain campaign.
Del. Kristen J. Amundson, D-Fairfax, a former school board member, had said the rally should be canceled or moved.
"This is almost unprecedented, to have a rally in a school building in the middle of the school day with kids present," Amundson told The Washington Post.
The McCain campaign has not yet said where the rally will be moved to. The campaign has been distributing tickets to supporters at its local campaign headquarters and over the Internet.