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Hilliard school district files police report against Senate candidate

The Hilliard City School District filed the complaint against Democratic candidate Morgan Harper, who briefly attended a student walkout earlier this week.

HILLIARD, Ohio — The Hilliard City School District filed a complaint against a Democratic candidate running for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat.

In an email to parents, the district said the candidate showed up to Thursday's student walkout without permission. The candidate was identified as Morgan Harper, according to her campaign team.

Harper is one of three Democratic candidates vying for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman.

Harper's campaign said she was there for about 15 minutes, spoke to students and left.

Students walked out of Hilliard Darby High School Thursday to protest House Bill 616, which is considered by some as the equivalent to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.

The bill would restrict both instruction and materials about sexual orientation and gender identity until fourth grade in all public and most private schools. It would also ban critical race theory.

Harper's campaign said she was invited by student organizers who told the campaign that they had notified school administrators she would be attending.

"Without the consent of appropriate district personnel, an authorized person -- a candidate for political office - entered school property without permission to do so. School administrators were not participating in the event, rather were supervising at a distance within view of students. Darby and district leaders were not notified of her intent to attend or her presence on school property, in clear violation of our visitor policies," the district letter stated.

The district notified Harper through their attorney that she is prohibited from being on school property. The district also plans on filing a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission.

A police report was filed with the Hilliard Division of Police, but it is not available yet.

In her press conference Saturday, Harper emphasized that her campaign team was invited to the walkout by student organizers and that they had permission from school administrators to attend. 

Harper admitted that her campaign team members did not reach out directly to the high school for approval. She also said she was never told to leave the property. 

"I'm happy to always be in touch with school administration and coordinate my appearances, and I have appeared during this campaign on school campuses before," Harper said. "This was a little different because it was a walkout led by students that was cleared by administration that we were invited to."

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