( – Parents Defending Education, a parental rights group, filed an ethics complaint on Thursday against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot after a report showed her reelection campaign encouraged Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers to offer class credit to students who volunteered, according to a press release.

The education group is asking the City of Chicago’s Board of Ethics to open an investigation into the campaign following reports that Megan Crane, Lightfoot’s deputy campaign manager, contacted teachers’ official work accounts asking that they promote the campaign’s volunteer “externship program” to students. Lightfoot blamed Crane for sending the emails, calling the effort a “mistake,” according to the New York Post.

“Tragically, far too many students in Chicago Public Schools are unable to read or write at grade level – even prior to the Chicago Teachers Union-led school closures, which disproportionately impacted the city’s disadvantaged children,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Chicago students should be sitting in classrooms and focused on making up this learning loss so that they have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves – not being conscripted as foot soldiers in Mayor Lightfoot’s re-election campaign.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois said that the email from the campaign “may have violated federal law,” according to WTTW News. Chicago Public Schools Inspector General Will Fletcher opened an investigation Thursday to determine “which, if any, policies have been violated” by the campaign.

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates called the email “unethical” and worried that if teachers did not listen to the email, they would face retaliation, according to WTTW News.

“We’re simply looking for enthusiastic, curious and hard-working young people eager to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring,” the email from Crane to CPS teachers said, according to WTTW News.

Following the scandal, Lightfoot’s campaign released a statement defending its actions.

A campaign spokesperson told WTTW that the emails were meant “to provide young people with the opportunity to engage with our campaign, learn more about the importance of civic engagement and participate in the most American of processes.”

Lightfoot’s campaign also claimed it is “a common practice that has been utilized in city, state, and federal level campaigns for decades.”

In a later amended statement, the campaign said, “All [Lightfoot for Chicago] campaign staff have been reminded about the solid wall that must exist between campaign and official activities and that contacts with any city of Chicago, or other sister agency employees, including CPS employees, even through publicly available sources is off limits. Period.”

The mayor made her first public remarks regarding the emails on Thursday, calling the campaigns’ actions “clearly a mistake.”

“The outreach to the CPS teachers via their emails was a mistake, should not have happened, and is not going to happen again,” said Lightfoot.

She pinned the blame on a “younger staffer” and claimed her campaign’s leadership was unaware of the emails, even though the emails listed Lightfoot’s deputy campaign manager as the sender. She added that the “well-intentioned” staffer would not be fired.

“This young woman understands the magnitude of the issue and is, frankly, mortified,” Lightfoot said. “She gets it, 100%.”

According to Chicago Public Schools inspector general Will Fletcher, his office “has opened an investigation into this matter and we are currently gathering information to determine which, if any, policies have been violated.”

Lightfoot stated that she plans to “cooperate fully” with any investigation.