Some students opt out to tune in to Obama's speech -, GA News Weather & Sports

Some students opt out to tune in to Obama's speech

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's been a hot topic, Tuesday's presidential speech to students across the country. At many schools students were invited to watch the President from their classrooms, but not everyone in the valley tuned in.

President Obama addressed schools across the nation during a live speech, but not every teacher was required to turn it on.

Midland Middle School's Principal Richard Green told News Leader Nine, "I left it open for any teacher who wanted to take the 15 to 20 minutes to allow their students to use it, take the time, utilize it. If you can't fit it into your lesson, don't worry about it, we'll carry on business as usual."

Green says very few teachers took a political stance on the issue, saying it simply didn't fit into their curriculum or schedule for the day.

"My class is working on fractions, decimals and percents today and it just doesn't fit in. We decided as a team that it would be easier to let the Social Studies teachers show it," said math teacher Amanda Campbell.

But even if a teacher chose to show the speech, parents had the option to "opt out" their child. The Muscogee County School District released this statement saying, "This is the only time the district can recall parents requesting an opt-out for a Presidential speech and the district is respecting their right to do so."

Social studies teacher at Midland, Cody Letson, incorporated the speech into his lesson for the day. He said he didn't understand why parents would opt out because, "Parents will have the opportunity at home to go over the video and the message and emphasize the points they think are important."

Most of the students we spoke with didn't know about the speech beforehand, but were pleased with the message.

"I think it was pretty good. I think all students should listen to it and focus on school," said 6th grad student Jasmine Golden. Dakota Vann agreed, "I learned that it's good to stay in school until you get out of college and try to get a good education so you can get a good job."

Not all teachers watched the speech live, some recorded it and let students watch it when there was free time. Some Muscogee County principals hosted school-wide viewings, where others chose to not show the speech at all, so that no one was left out.

The Columbus chapter of the NAACP voiced their opinion about the President's speech to schools. Leaders called it "disturbing" that the Muscogee County School District allowed students to skip the speech.

President Edward Dubose told News Leader Nine, "To Dr. Andrews, we say how dare you ask for a special purpose local option sales tax and not allow our children to be in school when the President of the United States is speaking."

NAACP members also challenged members of the community, encouraging democrats to voice their opinion about the "opt-out" option and for republicans to respect the leader of the free world's speech.

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