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To: Faculty and staff
From: Principal Vogel
Re: "Photo Op" Preparedness

As most of you are aware, the presidential elections are just around the corner and both candidates are on the campaign trail. What does this mean for Nathan Hale Elementary School? It means that at any time, with little or no notice, the democratic process may descend on us like a pack of coyotes.

Nathan Hale Elementary School fits the profile of schools most likely to fall victim to a campaign stop: a diverse student body, no recent cheating or drug scandals (kudos to Mrs. Taylor for her good behavior this year!) and a top-notch weapons-detection system.

Preparedness is the key to surviving a campaign visit. The following are procedural guidelines to follow in case of a photo op incident. We will run a drill of this procedure every week until the election is over. We can not afford to take an “it can't happen here” attitude.

On notification of a candidate in the area, all ugly and/or stupid students will immediately leave their classrooms and proceed to several designated holding areas (the custodian's closet, the cafeteria stockroom, and the corner of Elm and Willow Streets downtown), until the all-clear is sounded. Exceptions: Duane Farrington, Theresa Mola and the Quigley twins will remain in the building in case we are asked to trot out some remedial students.
The candidate may insist on joining the children for lunch in the cafeteria. Under no circumstances is he to be served the Salisbury steak or seated near Duane Farrington.
The question-and-answer periods are NOT an opportunity to play “gotcha.” If you have any gifted or articulate students who are likely to hector the candidates about their stands on the issues, please control them. (You might want to review Chapter Ten in your Teacher's Manual, “Gently Discouraging Independent Creative Thought.”) Be aware that even “cute” questions like, “Is it fun to be Vice President (or Governor of Texas)?” must be given to the candidate's advisors beforehand and should not be asked in an insinuating tone of voice.
When candidates play marbles or jacks with the children, it is traditional for the adult challenger to “throw” the game so that there are no hurt feelings. We all know this is how it works. Do not exploit this knowledge in any wagers with the third graders. Gambling is new to them; don't take away their innocence.

The attached handout will explain campaign-stop etiquette to your kindergarten through fourth grade students in a fun and persuasive way.

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