Former U.S. Navy pilot and U.S. Congress candidate Mikie Sherill was scheduled to speak with Montclair High School students about gun violence Tuesday, but the event was cancelled earlier this week, by the school.
Montclair Schools Superintendent Kendra Johnson stated in an email Monday in response to a letter from Michael D. Byrne, a member of Montclair Republican Club, that “pursuant to the recommendation of our Board Attorney, the assembly in question was cancelled earlier today.”
Byrne, in his email to Johnson, stated that “this letter is notify you and the Montclair Public Schools, that should you allow Ms. Sherrill, a Democrat candidate for Congress, to address students at Montclair High School in the context of the ongoing Democrat Primary for Congress, our [Montclair Republican] Club will seek equal and similar access.”
Lara Harvey, a Montclair High School student and member of the Civics & Government Institute (CGI), was one of many students disappointed by the school’s decision.
“Rodney Frelinghuysen, current Republican NJ representative, came to speak to CGI in recent years. The cancellation of Mikie’s visit also appears to have been influenced by the protesting of ADULTS in the Montclair community. People who wouldn’t be affected by this event are the reason for us not having it,” wrote Harvey in a Facebook post.
Earlier this week, Sherill visited West Orange High School. Sherill said in a statement to the Montclair Times that she looks forward to rescheduling the visit to Montclair High School.
Here is the full text of Byrne’s letter:
Dear Superintendent Johnson:
This letter arises from the article copied below, “Mikie Sherrill To Visit Montclair School, Speak On Gun Violence.”
As you may know, some years ago, the Montclair Public Schools sought to include anti-Second Amendment materials in the backpacks of schoolchildren. When residents of Montclair with contrary views in favor of the Bill of Rights sought to include materials with their viewpoint, they were initially denied by the School District. However, after a lengthy court case, the Montclair Public Schools were compelled to grant equal access to those citizens and an equal platform for their political views.
As you may also know, Ms. Sherrill is a Democrat candidate for Congress and has previously called for universal criminal background checks to cover all firearm sales, a federal assault weapons ban, limits on large capacity magazines, a ban of bump-stocks, and so-called “common-sense measures” related to the no-fly list and domestic abusers. She has added, “In Congress, I will work to save lives and help find responsible solutions America’s gun violence crisis.”
While Ms. Sherrill’s concern for gun violence may be admirable, she now seeks to use Montclair schoolchildren as props for her political campaign and to impart a single-sided, partisan view of how to allegedly solve what she calls a “gun violence crisis.”
Her proposals — and this speech 28 days prior to the Democrat Primary election — are obviously political in nature, (in addition to being unconstitutional in practice).
Thus, this letter is notify you and the Montclair Public Schools, that should you allow Ms. Sherrill, a Democrat candidate for Congress, to address students at Montclair High School in the context of the ongoing Democrat Primary for Congress, our Club will seek equal and similar access.
Indeed, we will welcome the opportunity to educate the young people of Montclair about the history of the Bill of Rights, the importance of the Second Amendment, and how both are essential to reducing gun violence in our society.
Michael D. Byrne
Montclair Republican Club
MHS, Class of 1998
C: Members of the Board of Education
Members of the Township Council
Today I got to sit down with an incredible group of students at West Orange H.S. and hear about what they have been doing in #NJ11 to demand action on gun violence. Thank you Principal Moore, @GabbyGiffords, @ShuttleCDRKelly, and Gov. @RichardCodey for a wonderful discussion. pic.twitter.com/eXl3tulJlL
— Mikie Sherrill (@MikieSherrill) May 7, 2018