(Oct 29, 2008) ST LOUIS – A southwest Missouri school teacher’s name has falsely appeared on promotional materials for Proposition A, and he said it was done unethically.
Doug Campbell, Vocal Music Instructor at Carl Junction Junior High School was astonished to receive mail from the Yes on A collation that said he was one of many teachers in support of the measure.
“I was very embarrassed to see my name supporting a proposition that expands gambling,” Campbell said.
“I understand first hand the dangers of gambling, as I’ve seen people who have suffered the terrible consequences of gambling addiction. I don’t support removing the $500 loss limit or anything else that will benefit casinos.”
The Yes on A coalition has claimed that hundreds of school teachers around the state are supporting the measure but Campbell has his doubts. He believes the method the casinos used to obtain such support was completely unethical and seriously misleading.
“I received a survey asking if I thought more funding for education was needed. The survey had the appearance of an official letter from a state educational organization with several educators and their schools listed, so I filled it out. The only question concerning casinos asked how important it was to prohibit the legislature from using revenue from casinos for these funds,” Campbell said.
Evelio Silvera, Executive Director of Casino Watch Committee was shocked to learn that the survey did not ask teachers if they supported proposition A or opposed it.
“There is no telling how many other educators around the state have been used by the casino industry. Mr. Campbell’s bravery to step forward has exposed this unethical practice and I hope more teachers will come forward to tell their story, “ Silvera said.
In 1994, during the Amendment 6 campaign, the casinos published a list of people in the Kansas City Star claiming they were in support of the gambling measure. Rep. Don Lograsso, and at least 15 others, were listed as its supporters even though they were clearly against the measure. The Yes on Amendment 6 Committee issued an apology letter but as Rep. Lograsso said, the severe, irreparable harm had already placed people’s reputations and careers in jeopardy.
Doug Campbell hopes people will understand that he is not supporting Proposition A and hopes his reputation can weather the storm. He has made many apologies to friends, colleagues and church members who have questioned why he would support such a proposition.
These unethical and harmful practices call into question all of the teacher endorsements for Proposition A. All the money in support of Proposition A has come from the Las Vegas-based Ameristar & Pinnacle casino companies and from the Missouri casino lobby. No money has come from educators and it’s no wonder all three Missouri teachers unions have refused to endorse Proposition A.