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Chappelle-Nadal wants Justice Dept. investigation, urges support for school transfer bill


ST. LOUIS – While many Republican legislators are gearing up their own challenges to vetoes made by Gov. Jay Nixon for this September, one Democrat wrote to her fellow lawmakers and the United State Attorney General Thursday, both on the topic of education, in an effort to override Nixon’s veto of HB 42.

In the first letter (pictured below), one addressed to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, asked for an investigation of the administration of education of St. Louis by the Department of Justice. In the second, she urged her fellow lawmakers, specifically Republicans, to pass the House bill vetoed by Nixon that represents the second time lawmakers have clashed with Nixon’s veto pen over what to do with unaccredited school districts.

The senator, whose district includes much of the embattled Normandy School District, said black, lower-income students disproportionately suffered from a lack of quality schools and education – amounting it to slavery in her appeal to Republicans.

“As Republicans, your party long ago freed the slaves in support of the sanctity of life,” she wrote in her letter to Republicans. “I am pleading with you to stop this well-organized effort to enslave children in substandard school buildings. This is a moral call. I am humbly asking you, as a Republican, to put first the welfare of the state before the special interests that keep my children subjugated.”

Chappelle-Nadal also had harsh words for Gov. Jay Nixon, remarking on his failure to pass two education bills.

Chappelle-Nadal’s letter to the U.S. AG

“These students have been abandoned by our Governor, who has twice vetoed bipartisan legislation to strengthen our transfer law and who continues to do nothing to remedy this intolerable situation.” she wrote in the letter. “Since Missouri’s leaders have abdicated their responsibilities to our children, I am turning to your office in the hopes that justice might prevail in this matter.”

Nixon nor his office responded directly to Chappelle-Nadal’s letters at the time of this article’s publication, but his office referred The Missouri Times to his veto message in regards to HB 42.

“In its original form, House Bill No. 42 focused on attempting to solve the well-known problems of Missouri’s existing student transfer law…” he wrote, “However, as the legislative process unfolded House Bill No. 42 mandated expensive educational experiments, neglected accountability, and evaded the major underlying difficulties in the transfer law.”

Nixon went on to say the bill would have introduced vouchers without oversight, create more bureaucracy and put restrictions on certain schools.