Don Huffines on Video Tangling with Richardson Students and Parents Over School Vouchers

If he needed a reminder, Dallas state Senator Don Huffines is getting one: Remember, no matter where you are, if you’re speaking to the public, someone is probably filming.

During a discussion with Richardson ISD parents and students at the state capitol Monday, Huffines grew irritable when pressed about his latest push for school vouchers — a law that would allow state-funded education savings accounts for families that don’t want to send their kids to public school.

The video begins with Huffines saying that anyone who says kids should go to public schools in their home district is “selfish.”

“What are you scared of?” he asks. “What are you scared of? What are all y’all scared of?” Someone in the crowd responds that the money that Huffines and his fellow Republicans want to go to private schools should go to improve public schools.

“What makes you think it isn’t? What makes you think it’s your money?” Huffines says. “It’s the businesses that pay 62 percent of all property taxes.”

Later, Huffines is quizzed on the fact that ESA’s would give parents about $5,000 to spend on their children’s education. That’s not enough, the woman asking the question says, to afford private school in North Texas.

“You’re saying, since we can’t give them enough to pay for their entire education, screw ’em, they can’t go to private school,” Huffines says. “Do you want me to give them $15,000, is that what you want, so they can go to Hockaday or St. Mark’s? That’s the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard.”

Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia took the opportunity to scold Huffines, who had not returned a request for comment for this story by Monday evening. “Nowhere in the job description of a Texas senator does it say to be disrespectful and rude to Texas students and their concerned parents who are demanding their fair shot to get ahead,” he said.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young