Some parents oppose airing Obama's speech in schools

September 03, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A local Republican activist says some parents are threatening to keep their children out of classes Tuesday if Washington County Public Schools airs President Obama's national address to schoolchildren.

Obama intends to use the address to "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning," according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Obama's address will be sent out on the White House's Web site and on C-SPAN at noon.

Neil Parrott, an organizer of Hagerstown Tea Party Inc., said Thursday a lot of parents are concerned because they believe Obama will attempt to push a "world view" that criticizes individual achievement.

"We'd like to see it not shown in Washington County Public Schools," Parrott said. "If it's going to be aired, then all the parents need to be advised and sign" a consent form.


Parrott, who has three children including two that are home-schooled, said he hasn't heard whether Washington County Public Schools will broadcast the address.

Washington County Public Schools spokesman Richard Wright said Thursday he could not confirm whether the school system planned to air the speech. An answer should be available no later than today, he said.

If the address is aired, the school system should give students an option other than watching the speech, Parrott said. Teaching children about politics and "world views" should not be the responsibility of the school system.

"The parents are going to need to make that choice," Parrott said.

Parrott said he isn't against the idea of the speech itself, but the way Obama could influence student activities that the Department of Education recommends after the event.

Those activities include:

o Creating posters of their goals

o Writing letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals

o Writing goals on colored index cards

o Sharing their goals with the class

Obama's speech

To learn more about President Obama's speech to schoolchildren next week, go to

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