Area districts have school as usual with and without presidential speech

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

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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