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Area districts have school as usual with and without presidential speech

By Advocate Staff Report
Sept. 14, 2010 at 4:14 a.m.

Area school responses to the presidential speech: The Cuero school district made no provisions to watch or not to watch the broadcast and went on with school as usual.

The high school government class did tape the speech and will review and listen to it Wednesday, said Henry Lind, Cuero superintendent.

"We let each teacher decide whether or not to show the video to their students during class," said Michael Novotny, Moulton superintendent.

In Edna, the speech was taped in the elementary school and parents can watch it after school with children if they choose to. For middle and high schools, the teachers could elect to show the speech during class if it was content relevant and any student who didn't wish to see it could be excused. "We've had zero complaints. It was a non-issue," said Bob Wells, school superintendent.

The Yoakum school district did not participate in watching President Obama's speech, said Tom Kelley, Yoakum superintendent.

The Industrial school district did not show the speech, but it was recorded for parents who want to watch it with their students later in the week. "We're not trying to make a political statement, just trying to preserve class time," Tony Williams, superintendent said. Parents can call and set up an appointment with the administration office to watch the tape.

In Goliad, high school students did not need permission to watch the speech. It was not shown live, but students can watch it on their school-issued laptops on their own time.

"The rest of this week they'll have the option of doing that," said Emilio Vargas, principal at Goliad High School.

Most area schools didn't require parental approval for students to watch President Barack Obama's annual back-to-school speech, if it was shown at all.

"We pretty much didn't address it," said Brad Williams, Bloomington superintendent, where teachers could decide whether or not to show the speech. "We just figured it's another day at school."

The afternoon address was broadcast live on CNN and streamed from the Internet. Obama encouraged children to remain strong throughout the recession, to focus on their education and be successful.

"Nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing - absolutely nothing - is beyond your reach," he said. "So long as you're willing to dream big. So long as you're willing to work hard. So long as you're willing to stay focused on your education."

All students in the Victoria school district were required to have a signed permission slip to watch the speech, but many campuses did not watch the address live, since it interfered with lunch times.

At Victoria East and West high schools, the speech was taped. At the West campus, the speech will be shown on Thursday during advisory period in the auditorium.

"We wanted to make sure we had parent permission forms and kids had permission to participate, so that's why we didn't show it at the actual televised time," said Principal Debbie Crick.

At East, the speech will be shown at a later time.

Calhoun County schools could decide for themselves whether or not to watch the speech. Interim superintendent Jim Story said this time around there was less media attention on the speech and less time to prepare.

"Because it was so quick, we really didn't know a lot about it," he said. "We just kind of left it up to the principals."

Other schools were opposed to the speech and chose not to show it at all.

"I don't know how other schools handle things typically, but we don't bring politics into the school," Refugio High School principal Todd Deaver said.



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