French Hill Re-Invited to School After Protest Concerns

Principal canceled elementary school visit after parents threatened protest over health care bill

Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., was scheduled to speak at an elementary school as part of its “Do Great Things” theme before the school’s principal canceled the visit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas Rep. French Hill was re-invited to an elementary school after the school canceled his visit because parents threatened to protest.


Hill was slated to speak at Gibbs Magnet Elementary School as part of its “Do Great Things” theme, according to Arkansas Matters.


 But Barclay Key, a parent of a student, protested Hill’s appearance.


“I’m appalled that a supporter of Donald Trump would be allowed to speak to our children, not to mention someone who voted to take away health insurance from many of the families at our school,” he said. 


Key said he and other parents planned to pull their kids out of the school for the day.


Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore said Hill’s speech would not be a political one and that it didn’t violate board policy.


Still, interim principal Donna Hall initially canceled the event as she was worried the protest would be disruptive.


Hall later changed her mind, saying on Sunday she viewed Hill’s visit as a learning opportunity.


“From time to time, we have elected officials speak at our schools, and though they may have varying political views, we welcome their non-partisan interaction with our students,” she wrote. “If any protest should occur, we would use that as an opportunity to educate our students about the democratic process in action and the right to peacefully demonstrate differing views.”


Hill said he regularly enjoys meeting with students as part of his job as a member of Congress.


“I visit schools throughout the year to discuss students’ aspirations and dreams and the issues of the day, as well as the role education has played in my life, my career as an entrepreneur, and the incredibly important duty to serve that each one of us has in our Constitutional Republic,” he said.


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