A Parent’s Perspective On President Obama Speaking To Students

I recieved the following letter from one of our readers regarding the decision of Huntington Beach City School District to not broadcast President Barack Obama’s speech to students on Tuesday.

Obama in Costa Mesa Photo by Dan Chmielewski

Obama in Costa Mesa Photo by Dan Chmielewski

Dear Editor:

The President of the United States will be speaking live to our nation’s youth at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.  Mr. Obama and the Secretary of Education have stated  that the speech will “challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.” 

The full text of the speech is also posted on the White House’s website for full advanced viewing.  This is nothing new.  President Reagan gave a speech to schoolchildren during his term as did George H.W. Bush.  There were no calls for class boycotts on those days. 

Now, scared Republicans are calling for the speech to be banned from schools.  Their stated reasons vary but the message was received loud and clear by the Huntington Beach City School District. 

On Friday, September 4 , it was decided that the speech would not be shown live to students. School board members, like Rosemary Saylor state “Our superintendent and management staff are going to record and watch the speech prior to having any students watch it, in order to be able to knowledgably address any parents’ concerns.”

Is it truly up to the school board to make this decision?  I, for one, would like to decide for myself.  If our President decides it’s a good idea to speak to the nation’s students than why should the school board bow to political pressure from scared parents?

Here is what my family is going to do.  We will hold our children from classes on Tuesday morning.  We will host a live viewing party at our home from 8:50 a.m. till the end of the speech.  You are all welcome to join us.  If you choose to keep your children from class thereafter, that is also up to you.

Michael Mann

School boards and school administrators should not be in the business of reviewing the remarks of the President of the United States and then make a political determination as to whether of not students should hear his remarks. Orange County students deserve the opportunity to hear from their President. 

HOPE Sculpture Denver 2008

HOPE Sculpture Denver 2008

When I worked the Democratic Party booth at the Orange County Fair this year I witnessed the hope and inspiration that President Obama’s image brought to the hundreds of school age children that walked by our booth. Imagine the hope and inspiration that his speaking directly to them will bring.

It is unamerican for politically motivated individuals to censor the President of the United States or to imply that children in Orange County should not be encouraged to study hard and stay in school. 

Feel free to contact your local school board and demand that the President’s speech is shown in its entirety, without censorship. If we do not speak out, the wingnuts win.

Anaheim City School District
(714) 517-7500

Anaheim Union High School District
(714) 999-3511

Brea Olinda Unified District
(714) 990-7800

Buena Park School Board 
(714) 522-8412

Capistrano Unified School District 
(949) 234-9200

Centralia School District 
(360) 330-7600

Cypress School District
(714) 220-6900

Fountain Valley School District
(714) 843-3200

Fullerton Joint Union High School District 
(714) 870-2800

Fullerton School District 
(714) 447-7400

Garden Grove Unified School District  
(714) 663-6000

Huntington Beach City School District
(714) 964-8888

Huntington Beach Union High School District 
(714) 903-7000

Irvine Unified School District 
(949) 936-5000 

La Habra City School District  
(562) 690-2305

Laguna Beach Unified School District
(949) 497-7700 

Los Alamitos Unified School District
(562) 799-4700

Lowell Joint School District
(562) 943-0211

Magnolia School District  
(714) 761-5533

Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Ocean View School District 
(714) 847-2551 

Orange Unified District
(714) 628-4487

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District 
(714) 986-7000

Saddleback Valley Unified School District
(949) 586-1234

Santa Ana School Unified District 
(714) 558-5501

Savanna School District  
(714) 236-3800

Tustin Unified School District 
(714) 730-7301 

Westminster School District 
(714) 894-7311

  1 comment for “A Parent’s Perspective On President Obama Speaking To Students

  1. Dan Chmielewski
    September 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    This parent is to be commended; it would be great if there are any teachers still at HB from the speeches given by Reagan and George H.W. Bush to students; or if there are students from HB schools who remember those speeches and chime in.

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