The sight of a lot of Guilford County Schools buses lined up is pretty common and almost never raises eyebrows.
However, on Saturday, Oct. 31, when 74 buses were used to establish a security perimeter at a Jill Biden “Get Out The Vote” rally in Greensboro, Guilford County Schools ended up with a huge controversy on its hands.
The move upset Trump fans, school board members, social media users and many others who wondered if school system dollars were going toward partisan political events.
The matter blew up on Facebook after one poster shared pictures of the buses and asked for an explanation. Others who attended the event at the Greensboro Coliseum saw the buses and called local media outlets to complain.
Guilford County School Board Member Anita Sharpe said on Sunday, Nov. 1 that she’s very disturbed by the fact that the buses were used without her and other school board members being notified. She said that, even though she’s a school board member, she was told nothing about the plan.
She said she was told she wasn’t informed due to “security concerns” but she added that she had been cleared twice by the US Secret Service and she said certainly someone could have given a heads up to the school board. She added that other school board members had also had security clearances granted by the Secret Service.
Sharpe said that, instead, it seemed to her to be another instance of a lack of communication by Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras.
“I’ve made a public records request about this,” Sharpe said Sunday, Nov. 1, the day after Biden’s rally. “That is how I have to get all of my information.”
Sharpe said it made no sense for school board members to be kept in the dark about something like this.
“What did they think was going to happen when people saw all those school buses parked there?” she asked.
She said that, on Saturday morning, people began texting her and sending her pictures of the buses and asking questions.
“At the time, I had no idea,” Sharpe said, adding that “John Q. Public might see that and think that Guilford County Schools is supporting Biden.”
She also said she has requested information about the cost. She said she’d heard that the Secret Service was going to reimburse that money to the school system, but she knew none of the details.
On Facebook, Joanne Smith Gilbert posted pictures of the buses (see above) and wrote, “I’m curious. Was this taxpayer funded? Paid for by the Biden campaign? An in-kind contribution by our Superintendent? What was the approval process and who authorized? Someone needs to do some explaining please.”
School Board Member Pat Tillman, who posted a Facebook comment conveying what he’d heard on the matter, wrote, “I’ve been told this is handled through the US Secret Service. No campaign called GCS [Guilford County Schools]. Apparently, this is a common security practice of US Secret Service. The US Secret Service called and the US Secret Service reimburses school districts all over America.”