Did any parents refuse to let their children watch Obama's message today?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Last year there was a lot of ruckus about The President's speech, and I had a handful bring in a note say they didn't want their child watching. This year I didn't hear a peep about it, but our principal did send an automated message home about it. I'm glad no one got upset this year - I thought it was very silly how crazy the media made it last year.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We never heard anything about it, and didn't watch it at our school. Last year it was a big deal. This year, no one even mentioned it to us.
     
  4. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    I feel left out! I didn't even know there was a speech. :) Woops!
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Neither did I. LOL.

    I think the parents that sent notes to school last year were overreacting, but I respect their right to say they don't want their kids to hear the President's speech.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    They were talking about it on the radio yesterday. I can understand the ruckus last year when it comes to elementary aged children. Older kids, not so much. As a parent, it's my job, and my right, to raise my kids how I see fit, and that includes my values and beliefs. Often times, those values run contrary to a particular political philosophy. When they're little, I want a little more control over the messages they receive in that regard. I still watch movies and tv shows before I let my kids see them...why would I allow my kids to see something that could potentially fly in the face of what I'm teaching my kids before I've seen it? I would feel the same way regardless of the politician speaking.

    That's not overreacting...that's being a parent.
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Honestly, I don't think they have that right at all. The school is run by the government. He is the head of the government. He made a speech welcoming students back and encouraging them to do well. There was no political agenda. If you don't want your students in a school run by the government, home school them or shell out for private school.
     
  8. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I think that parents have the right to say that their children do or do not listen to a speech by any president. Children of some religions are not allowed to say the pledge of allegiance and we respect their right so if I do not want my children to hear a speech by the president than that should be respected also.

    Actually, his speech this year seemed to have been kept very low key. I wonder if that was on purpose?
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    He made a speech? The first year, ya the school I was at made a huge stink of it, but no I didn't hear anything mentioned. I guess I've been too busy getting use to my new school--- I do think politics needs to stay out of the classroom (teach them about the government but keep bias out).

    I knew one teacher who was so biased and tried to get all of her students to become liberals. She didn't feel as if she was doing her part as a teacher unless she met that goal. :(
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    We didn't get a directive from the district one way or the other this year - last year was a HUGE deal; everyone had to watch unless the child had a note from home.

    We didn't watch it... but only because my TV is still wrapped up and on the floor.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    No big deal here. We sent permission slips out. We only had a handful say 'no'. They had an alternative assignment to do while the speech was played on TVs.
     
  12. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Of course they have the right to have their child not listen to a speech, just as they have the righ to say their child can't watch certain films or participate in sex ed. They're the parents--their children are theirs.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I heard about it last night.

    As a parent, my objection wouldn't have been to the speech or to the President making it. Whether or not you like the person holding the office is immaterial. The office of the President should get your respect. And any speech from the President welcoming kids to school is bound to be pro education, not something starkly political.

    (And, no, I didn't vote for President Obama. But now that he's in office, he gets respect, even if I disagree with some of his policies.)

    My objection is the use of school time to listen to a speech that promotes education, yet takes time away from it.

    We had a prayer service this morning. No one in my school saw the speech. None of my own 3 kids have mentioned seeing it.
     
  14. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Well that's a difference of opinion. I don't think parents have the right to make those decisions, either. Not in a public school.

    I think the pledge and watching a speech are two entirely different issues. You are asking the students to swear to something (something that has a Christian undertone) when saying the pledge, and their parents are opposing it based on religious grounds. That is entirely within their First Amendment Rights to do so.

    What is the justification for not letting them watch a speech by the president?
     
  15. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Parents don't have the right to make decisions about what their child may be exposed to in a public school? :eek: What if the school wanted to show a speech by Senator Strom Thurmond or Malcolm X? The school might be "run by the government", but the funds for the school come from the taxpayers...ie, the parents who put their kids in the school (and in some states - like PA - citizens have to pay a school tax whether they have kids in the school or not).

    Those same First Amendment Rights.
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I don't think many of our parents/teachers even knew about it. We watched it being played on a link to our district channel.

    Honestly, I don't understand opting out of your child watching it. It was a message about working hard and being able to do whatever you want to do. How everyone has talents and if you are weak in an area, you don't have to stay that way-you can work hard to overcome that. I understand not agreeing with a President's politics but trying to prevent kids from hearing ANYthing that President has to say, just because you don't believe in his politics, I believe is really short-sighted.
     
  17. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    They do have a right - they can vote in elections and school board elections. They do NOT, in my opinion, have a right to make individual decisions about curriculum for their own children. My taxes also pay state troopers but that doesn't mean I have the right to decide that I will drive 75 on the highway instead of 65. However, if that is really important to me, I can vote, campaign, and maybe even run for office myself.

    As to the second part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    I don't understand what part of the first amendment allows parents to decide not to allow their children to listen to a speech by the president in school. It doesn't inhibit their religion, it doesn't establish a religion (unless he says "God Bless" or something like that), it doesn't stop the freedom of press, it has nothing to do with assembling, or petitioning the government. Please explain?
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Thank goodness people simmered down from last year. That was just...embarrassing. No issues this year.
     
  19. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    exactly!
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Last year it was kind of expected that everyone would tune in. My kids were in gym and the gym teachers took my kids into a classroom to watch. I didn't watch.

    This year there was no mention of it. I don't think anyone tuned in from my school. What a difference a year makes.
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Requesting to be excused from one assignment is not making decisions about curriculum, it's about not wanting your child to participate in a specific activity and I do feel parents have the right to make that request, whether I agree with their reasons for the request or not.

    Speaking out openly against the government and the President is also part of the First Amendment. Choosing NOT to be forced to listen to the President is one form of speaking out against him and/or his policies. I DO feel it is a huge overreaction on the part of the parents, but I also feel they have the right to have that overreaction if they choose.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    That was my objection as well, but then thought that that was the only way he was going to reach as many kids as he could.
     
  23. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I'm VERY upset about the school they picked to host President Obama at. He needs to go to the failing schools. My students would have enjoyed seeing him come to our school, but then again no one cares about our schools that don't have the shiny ribbons of excellent.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Kind of a Catch 22.
     
  25. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, I think there might be a place...particularly in a social studies area.

    As I've said before, I object to ANYTHING political, well intentioned or not, by any politician, being aired in schools of any kind, without parental consent. It's not about respecting the president, it's about a parent's right to raise their children with the values they choose. That said, I did allow my children to watch last year's speech, and here's why...

    My children's school got a transcript of the speech and sent it home along with a permission slip. They played the speech several days later. I was able to read the speech and decide for myself that it was appropriate for my children. Why every school across the nation couldn't do something similar is beyond me. If they had, there would have been no controversy whatsoever.
     
  26. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Wow...

    Parents absolutely have the right to refuse their kids be exposed to certain things. I have great respect for teachers, but they make mistakes too -- we're all humans. That terrorist lesson is a recent example.

    Your opinion there is a very dangerous one, I wouldn't ever say that publicly if I were you. :) If your way of thinking goes into practice, be ready to lose a lot of kids to Charter schools and private schools, which would jeopardize your employment.
     
  27. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    My class watched Presidents Obama's speech last year and I thought he had a great message for the students.

    I missed it this year but will watch it on C-SPAN. I heard that again he had a good message for the students.

    Parents do have the right to determine if their children listen to a message from the President even though it is a public school.

    The President is head of the Executive Branch and is Commander-in-Chief, but he is also a politician. Unless the message can be screened in advance, the parent has no way of predicting whether there will be a political message inserted in the speech.
     
  28. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I have been totally supported on that opinion by administrators. Not sure why it is dangerous or why I wouldn't say it publicly.

    Sharing ideas, opinions, other viewpoints, then deciding where you stand - isn't that what education is all about? Or maybe not?
     
  29. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    You absolutely have the right to express your opinion and that partly what this forum is about. People can and should speak boldly about their opinions. Debate is welcome and how change comes about.
     
  30. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    I didn't teach today....... (I'm not planning of teaching any this month) so therefore I didn't hear anything Mr. Obama had to say.

    Hopefully he talked about the stimulus package and the national debt........ after all they (the kids) will be paying for it the rest of their lives.
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Come on, Major...must you? That's what gets nice discussions like these shut down. :p

    I have no issue, by the way, of using class time to allow the president to speak to our children about education. I think it's an awesome use of class time, actually.
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I was sorry to see that thread shut down. After reading all the comments and trying to place myself in the teacher's shoes, I had a bit of an epiphany as to why she might have worded the assignment the way she did.

    Ah well, that's the way it goes.

    Ok, thread derailment over. Back to our regularly scheduled topic now.
     
  33. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    Great! Say it publicly. Where do you teach? What is your full name? I'm sure parents would LOVE to hear your views. It would be a great educational experience for all of us to see how those cards would fall. :)
     
  34. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Actually, silverspoon's remarks aren't far off. There is technically no current legal right to refuse most curriculum in a public school.

    "No politics in the classroom" is rather difficult to pull off at the elementary level (as well as in social studies and potentially English classes). Politics isn't limited to the alleged differences between Republicans and Democrats -- it's all of government. The pledge itself brings in politics (even beyond the "under god" statement -- the mere assertion that one values liberty and justice is a political statement -- a very widely agreed upon one, but still a political statement).

    If you're talking about a moralistic right rather than a legal right, you have a better argument. Still, you would need to consider how far the parent's right extends. Do parents have a right to keep their children from interacting with anyone of another race? Do parents have a right to refuse to allow their child to learn to read?
     
  35. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    :yeah that:
    WOW, that's a great argument! (not being sarcastic) i never thought of it that way. i'll definately have to remember this the next a parent doesn't want their kid watching the president's speech
     
  36. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    I wasn't clear in my post, and using the terrorist lesson as an example deviated from that more -- I was just using that as an example of something parents should be able to refuse in small parts of non-uniform curricula.

    What I meant to convey is that hearing a speech from a politician IS NOT curriculum.

    For a teacher to say parents don't have the RIGHT to have their kids not listen to it is wrong on a thousand levels. I don't want to hit the 1 in Godwin's law, but if I had to -- this would definitely be an acceptable comparison.

    That said, if I had kids, I would be perfectly fine with them hearing it.

    But having someone tell me that parents don't have the right to have their children not view it, that is absolutely scary.
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Pete, hearing a speech from a politician can so very, very easily be tied to a subject's core content.
     
  38. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I think the terrorist assignment is a fine example. Some parents, but not all, objected to it. Even though the students were allowed to not complete the assignment, the admin at the school has given the teacher their continued support.
     
  39. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    So could a speech from the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, it could. Absolutely. Listening to a speech, analyzing, writing a rebuttal...these actions do not indicate the audience agrees with the speaker.
     
  41. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    But I think most of us would agree a parent has a right to say they do not want their child listening to that speech.
     

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