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School Use For McCain, Palin Rally Bucks Rule

She wants the rally canceled or moved, noting that an e-mail advertising the rally asks people who show up to "please wear something red to remind everyone to keep Virginia red this November."

Fairfax City Mayor Robert F. Lederer, a Republican who helped plan the event, defended the rally, noting Obama's appearance at Robinson.

"This is something that I see has broad support for its educational component," Lederer said. "The Obama people did it this summer. I think the precedent was probably set during that period, whether it was a good decision or not."

Dale said any security or other costs are paid for by the campaigns.

Lederer said residents should be proud that McCain (R-Ariz.) and Palin chose to have their rally in Fairfax City. "It would be disappointing to me if this becomes a partisan, bickering affair where, if you are for one, you are for the rally, and if you are for the other, you are against it."

Principal Scott Brabrand sent out a message through the school's e-mail system yesterday to alert parents about the rally.

Fairfax High School parent and Obama supporter Pearl Johnson, whose daughter is a student at Fairfax High, said she had mixed feelings when she learned about the event. She thought it would have some educational value. "But it did come to mind, if they are doing a McCain and Sarah event during the school day, are they going to do the other side? What message are you sending?"

Staff writer Michael D. Shear, traveling with the McCain campaign, contributed to this report.

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