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Jackson Scored for Having Drug Users on Stage

November 01, 1987|United Press International

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The Rev. Jesse Jackson angered parents when he asked high school students who experimented with drugs to join him on stage in a show of anti-drug solidarity, officials said Saturday.

School Supt. Thomas Brown said he was impressed by Jackson's anti-drug message but believed the Democratic presidential candidate "went too far" Wednesday by inviting the West High School students on stage, especially since the event was covered by television.

"Those students were on TV, and their parents and everyone else could see them identified as having taken drugs," Brown said. "Sure, they didn't have to go down there and join him, but he's a powerful speaker, and they could see his point."

Believed Manipulated

Brown said television stations aired footage of Jackson speaking with the students about their drug experiences. He said that although the students "don't appear to be too upset," parents and members of the community believe the students were manipulated.

Jackson's campaign could not be reached for comment Saturday.

"We are a caucus state, and students should be informed about political campaigns and issues but not manipulated," Brown said. "They should be exposed to the political process, but they should never be exploited to rally or to gain publicity for the candidates.

"I suggest when politicians make appearances, they use their standard political message and then leave," he said.

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