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|NUMBER 188||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||SEPTEMBER 2001|
Field Trip Becomes Pro-Tax Rally|
Mobile parents found particularly outrageous a field trip that turned into a "Vote Yes" rally at Hank Aaron Stadium, home of Mobile's minor league Bay Bears baseball team. More than 5,000 Mobile County K-6 public and private school students attended what they thought would be a baseball game their reward for successfully completing a "Reading Olympics" program for which they had read a given number of books. Public school busses were used to transport the public school students to the stadium.
Taking the field instead of baseball players, however, was a team of public officials, including Mobile Mayor Mike Dow, Superintendent Harold Dodge, the deputy school superintendent, and local school board members. After each official made a pro-tax hike speech, an obviously pre-arranged number of students came down onto the field to testify in favor of the tax.
Following these exhortations, the Bay Bears mascot ran around the field chanting "Vote Yes!" "Vote Yes!" at an increasing pitch until the crowd screamed in unison. The father of a private school student, a history buff who had no prior warning that his son's "field trip" would be a pro-tax rally, called the spectacle "eerily reminiscent of Hitler's youth rallies."