'I don't know why parents are making such a big to-do about it'

Many felt Obama speech should have been aired in schools

Many felt Obama speech should have been aired in schools

September 08, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HALFWAY -- A man with four children in Washington County Public Schools said Tuesday he would have liked President Obama's address to school children to have been shown live in local classrooms, but he understood why that would have been difficult.

Ric Calef was among nine people who agreed to discuss with The Herald-Mail whether they thought the president's speech to school children should have been shown live to students. All nine favored showing the speech, some with qualifications. Three other people who were approached would not talk to a reporter.

Calef said he received notice Friday of the school system's decision not to air the speech. The information provided to parents cited short notice as the reason schools didn't show the speech, he said.

"I certainly would like for them to have aired it," he said. But he said, "You can't just interject something into the curriculum."


Washington County schools officials have said they would provide students with plenty of opportunities to watch the speech, even though it wasn't aired live, Calef said.

Washington County Public Schools will put links to the speech on the school system's Web site and DVD copies of the speech will be available through each school's library.

Ida Booth of Chambersburg, Pa., said she was initially a little hesitant about the speech. But, she said, as long as the speech didn't address health care, she thought it was fine.

She and De Johnson, of Charleston, W.Va., agreed the Obama administration should have released the text of the speech earlier.

"A lot of parents wanted to know exactly what he wanted to speak of," Johnson said. "If he's just talking about kids being in school, that's OK."

Jane Adamczyk said she liked the speech's message and didn't see anything wrong with giving students the opportunity to see it live.

"Teenagers, young people need all the encouragement they can get," she said.

Kathy Keeney of Falling Waters, W.Va., said she thought the speech should have been aired to high school students but not younger children.

"Younger kids don't understand a lot of stuff that's going on. It should be dealt with at home, watch it as a family," she said.

But high school students could watch anything the president had to say, said Keeney, who said she voted for Obama.

Ronald Werst of Williamsport didn't see what was so bad about the speech, he said. A speech about staying in school was fine, he said.

"A lot of people just don't like Obama," said Bonnie Martin of Williamsport, who said she disagreed with the school system's decision not to air the speech live.

She said she thinks the students had a right to see the speech.

"If it was George Bush they'd see it. You can take that to the bank," she said.

Lauren Cole of Hagerstown suggested the schools could have set up separate classrooms for students who didn't want to see the speech.

"If kids want to be aware, they should have the chance," she said.

Perhaps younger children, in kindergarten through third grade, should have gotten permission slips signed by parents to watch the speech, but older children could have been given the choice, she said.

Caroline Mitchell of Boonsboro held similar views.

"Everybody's got a right to make their own decisions. Even kids," she said.

The speech's content was discussed on the news Tuesday morning, Mitchell said.

"There couldn't have been anything in the speech that could have caused a problem," she said. "I don't know why parents are making such a big to-do about it."

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