Obama's Classroom Address Sparks Parent Protest

Broward's superintendent has made watching the President's speech mandatory

By Jessica Sick
|  Friday, Sep 4, 2009  |  Updated 11:30 AM EDT
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Obama's Classroom Address Sparks Parent Protest

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As if kids are actually going to watch a speech.

The debate about what kids should and shouldn't be able to watch on TV is as old as that remoteless, wood-grain-encased dinosaur you've got in the den.

But usually that debate is over "Hannah Montana" or "CSI: Miami." Not the President.

It's the latter, however, that has some Broward parents wanting to shut off the boob tube.

When parents learned that on Tuesday President Obama is scheduled to make a back-to-school address to students, and that students will be required to watch, the complaints started rolling in, the Miami Herald reported.

Despite complaints, however, superintendent John Notter is making watching the speech mandatory, citing that it's an important event.

Teachers aren't mandated to have it on, but if it's in their lesson plans - and the White House sent out suggested activities that coordinate with the speech -- then there is no alternative assignment for kids whose parents don't want them to watch.

"I really don't see eye-to-eye politically with Obama and I don't like the fact that he's going to use our children as a political platform to do an infomercial," Hollywood resident Phil Rodriguez, who plans to keep his three children home on Tuesday, told the Herald.

In Miami-Dade County, the speech will be available but not mandatory to watch.

The full text of the speech - which is, according to the White House, going to be about taking responsibility for their education, setting goals and doing everything they can to succeed -- is expected to be available Monday, but some parents would like to see a copy of it before it's aired to their kids.

"If you were watching the Super Bowl halftime awhile back, you saw it,'' Davie parent Stephen Dambra told the Herald, referring to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. "You'll never forget it and you can't take it back."

Though, we're pretty sure an Obama tie clip slip wouldn't have the same impact.

"For my kids, it's more like a history lesson,'' Parkland mother Shelly Heller told the Herald. "This is what's going on in the world and it doesn't necessarily mean that you believe him or not believe him. But it's just to learn something and listen to him. To me, that's educational.''

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