A Republican lawmaker delivered doughnuts to teachers. Then came a political food fight
Critics object to Del. Amanda Batten’s teacher appreciation gesture funded with campaign money
Earlier this month, Virginia Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, bought almost 1,000 doughnuts and set out to give them to public school teachers working in her Williamsburg-area district.
She marked the occasion with a Facebook post showing her carrying armfuls of doughnut boxes in a multi-school delivery that she said amounted to 996 doughnuts, or 83 dozen.
“The end of the school year is in sight, and I’m grateful to our hard-working teachers as we recognize Teacher Appreciation Week,” Batten’s May 12 post read. “Thank you for all you do!”
The doughnut deliveries to 19 schools in the Williamsburg-James City County and New Kent County school districts were accepted. But — in a sign of the intensity of Virginia’s political debates over K-12 public schools — some in the Williamsburg-James City County system saw an ulterior motive hidden beneath the glaze and sprinkles.
One of the photos posted to Batten’s Facebook page showed a custom doughnut-box label with an important line in smaller print: “Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Amanda Batten.” That phrase signals an activity was funded by money from a political campaign; Batten confirmed the doughnut expenditure was made from her campaign account.
The pushback, which included the local teachers’ union taking aim at Batten’s voting record, was so strong school officials told Batten similar doughnut drop-offs would be declined in the future due to their “political nature.”
In an official statement on the matter, the Williamsburg-James City County Education Association, which represents local teachers, took aim at Batten’s record of voting for more alternatives to traditional public schools and against collective bargaining rights for teachers.
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