Missouri schools complain over supplies with Obama logo

Sunday, December 6, 2009 | 4:51 p.m. CST; updated 6:46 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 6, 2009

COLUMBIA — Several Missouri schools are complaining about notebooks and pencils with designs similar to the logos from President Barack Obama's campaign.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that complaints from unhappy Missouri schools have prompted the supply company responsible for the materials to travel across the state recalling notebooks and pencils.

The design at issue includes a picture of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Above the coins is the phrase: "CHANGE" and underneath it reads: "WE CAN BELIEVE IN." Below the words is a circle used by Obama's campaign, in which the top half is blue and the bottom is red with three white lines cutting through it.

At least one notebook and pencil with the design have been purchased from a school supply machine at a Columbia elementary school. Two families have complained about the design, and Mill Creek Elementary Principal Mary Sue Gibson said she planned to complain to the supply company.

"I just don't want to get into that political arena at all," Gibson said.

Greg Jones, a sales representative with Pencil Wholesale, said the design was an accident.

Jones, who delivers supplies to about 800 schools, said he remembers seeing the design but didn't think anything about it. He said the supplies were designed by a different company and that "the art department was trying to be cutesy."

"I wish I could do it over. But, for now, I can just make it right," Jones said.

It's his job to go to schools that might have received supplies with the controversial design and remove them.

Finding what schools the supplies went to has been difficult. From a case of 72 notebooks, three have been found that have a design similar to the Obama logo.

"It's turned out to be really ugly. We're trying to get them out of the schools as fast as we can," said Jones, who identified himself as a registered Republican who voted for John McCain in 2008.

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