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Texas School Board Might Invite Jesus's Own Phone Company To Sponsor Classrooms
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You may or may not have heard by now of a quickly growing cellular phone company called "Patriot Mobile," which promotes itself as "America's only Christian conservative wireless provider.” You might not have realized that the Son of God Incarnate actually cared that much about who you get your cellphone service from, but that's because you are a dirty heathen Wonkette reader, now isn't it? Patriot Mobile started getting mainstream media attention this summer after its affiliated political action committee, Patriot Mobile Action, sponsored a bunch of winning candidates for seats on school boards in Texas, putting majorities of its candidates on four school boards, a fact the company's CEO Glenn Story touted during an interview with Steve Bannon at CPAC in Dallas last month. The company has also featured prominently in providing big "In God We Trust" signs to schools so they can comply with the state's new law requiring schools to feature big "In God We Trust" signs, which ought to prevent any more school shootings ever.
Now, two members of the Carroll Independent School District Board of Trustees — one of the school systems taken over by Christian Nationalists with help from Patriot Mobile Action — are floating the idea of inviting corporations to "sponsor" classrooms in the district's schools, promoting the idea in a school board meeting Monday night, according to video posted by the "Southlake Together" Twitter account, which opposes attempts to bring rightwing ideology into the community's public schools.
While the board members proposing the corporate sponsorships, Andrew Yeager and Hannah Smith, didn't mention Patriot Mobile by name, it seems a natural potential sponsor. Carroll ISD was one of the lucky ducky recipients of Patriot Mobile's beautiful "In God We Trust" signs. And while only Yeager received campaign funding from Patriot Mobile Action, he and Smith were among the candidates endorsed by Southlake Families PAC, which was co-founded by Patriot Mobile Action's executive director Leigh Wambsganss, who's also the cellular company's vice president of government and media affairs. Isn't political funding fun?
Here's Trustee Andrew Yeager saying it would be easy to have corporations start sponsoring school classrooms, since other school districts offer a wide menu of "sponsorship and naming" options, even "down to classrooms."
“Here’s Andrew Yeager proposing the idea.”
— Southlake Together (@Southlake Together) 1663077859
Ms. Smith also discussed what other schools had achieved in getting corporate sponsorship could be for schools, bringing in cash for everything from individual classrooms up to auditoriums and athletic fields. In fact, she said she was actually surprised to find that there are very few regulations on how schools make use of corporate sponsorships.
Yr Wonkette won't pretend to have exhaustively researched the subject, but we did find some general guidelines on selling advertisements and sponsorships in public schools, from the Texas Association of School Boards, which discusses how such arrangements can work, and some of the legal ins and outs of the process — and by golly, it sure does look like it's more a matter of making sure schools have a good clear contract than anything else; the guidelines do suggest that schools may want to open advertising and sponsorship sales to competitive bidding, to "demonstrate an effort to get the best value for the district even if not strictly required by law."
So far, apart from the tweet by "Southlake Together" speculating that Patriot Cellular might someday sponsor classrooms (the thread also raised the potential of Exxon-Mobil sponsoring your kid's science classroom), it doesn't appear that Patriot Mobile is actively seeking any such arrangement. But given how the company promoted its sign donation as part of its mission to "bring God back into our public schools," we wouldn't be surprised if that might be in the works.
If such corporate sponsorships do come to Carroll schools, they may face pushback, too. At a recent board meeting, parents opposed to the rightwing takeover of schools in the Grapevine-Colleyville district recently wore shirts with the school district's name crossed out and replaced by “Patriot Mobile Action ISD” to protest the company's influence.
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