Planned presidential speech to students leaves some parents upset

Posted By Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A speech that President Obama plans to give next week is raising some eyebrows. He will be talking to students about the importance of staying in school, but many parents are not happy about the address.

Calls have come into our newsroom and at the Jefferson County Public Schools too. Some people think there is a hidden political agenda, while others want to know more about the program.

"He's the leader of our country and he absolutely should advocate education. The children are the future for tomorrow," said Janet Inman, whose daughter attends Wilkerson Elementary.

In Jefferson County, schools have the option to air the president's speech. The Department of Education has a curriculum classrooms can follow, based around the presidential address. If a classroom decides to air it and a parent does not want their child to watch it, then they don't have to. The classroom will be required to provide an alternative activity for the student.

"We reviewed the materials and it is not a lobbying effort. This is very much an educational effort. It is a social studies activity. It supports our civics criteria so it's very appropriate based on the information that's been provided," said Lauren Roberts, spokesperson for JCPS.

The address will be carried on C-SPAN and the White House website. Parents can go online and read the contents of the speech the day before it airs to decide if they want their child to watch.

It has been nearly 20 years since a president has targeted school-aged children. In 1991, then-president George H. W. Bush talked to students about the dangers of drug abuse.

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