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Some Schools Refuse to Show Obama's Address to Students

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will make a speech, which he hopes will be aired in public schools around the nation. In this speech Obama will be addressing students to encourage them to work hard and succeed in school. Not only are schools encouraged to air the speech, they are encouraged to have the teachers plan their lessons around it that day. But some schools and parents say they don’t want to have any part in it. KSMU’s Adam Hammons has more on how many public schools are refusing to air the national address.

Ever since the White House declared that Democratic president Barack Obama was going to air the speech, people have been voicing their complaints. Some parents even claim that they will keep their kids home if it is aired.

With the controversy over the speech, many public schools are either giving teachers the option of airing it, or are just deciding not to air it at all.

Vicki Neal, assistant superintendent for Republic Public Schools, explains her district’s position on the issue.

“This will not be something that Republic Schools will be participating in. We have no background information or guidelines to follow within our curriculum to try to provide a setting for this format.”

Neal says the school district has received numerous calls from parents on both sides of the issue.

“We’ve gotten mixed feedback. The majority of it has been that ‘we’re going to keep our kids at home.’ Several people have said that if this is going to happen we won’t be sending our children to school, and certainly we want kids to be in school. Then we have had feedback to where parents want their kids to listen, and if we’re not going to show then they’re not going to send their kids to school.”

Meanwhile, Springfield Public Schools are also looking at the issue. Teresa Bledsoe is the spokesperson for Springfield Public Schools.

“We believe that the decisions about student learning are best made by those closest to the students. So that means the principals, the teachers, and parents. So there will be by base decisions throughout our district on whether students will view the president’s address next week.”

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has even become involved, releasing a statement saying the televised speech will be an infringement on the rights of students.

“I am extremely alarmed by this, and the fact that the U.S. Department of Education would usurp local control of school boards, and state, and local schools by this 'PR' attempt that went too far. This is too close to indoctrination.”

Kinder, a Republican, says it is not his intention to disrespect the president or the office of the presidency by voicing his criticisms.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.