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Statement on President Obama's Address to Students

Posted by Alan on September 7, 2009 4:05 PM | (Not Filed) |

September 7, 2009 A statement from superintendent Vicki Thomas: There has been much confusion locally and nationally regarding the President's education speech on Tuesday. To be absolutely clear, the Fayetteville School District is not prohibiting the viewing of the Presidential address to students on Tuesday. While we are not providing a school-wide viewing, we will fully support our teachers in having their classes view the address. As with all video presentations, we have an opt-out provision for a parent of a student who does not wish their child to view the speech. In that case, the teacher will provide an alternative location and activity for the child. If a parent wishes to exercise this option, I ask you to please have your child bring a note tomorrow and give it to the teacher.

Because we do not have the capability to simultaneously broadcast the address to all students, we have made plans in advance to link the address to our website and to place it on Channel 14 so that students and parents might have the opportunity to view it together and discuss the content as often as they choose. It will also be available to teachers to show to their classes who may have not been available for the live broadcast.

I understand that my previous announcement regarding the speech might have some school stakeholders confused or upset. For that I apologize. Please be assured that my initial statements were not a reaction to any political agenda or censorship issue. The Fayetteville School District will not deny student access to President Obama's speech, just as we do not restrict access to appropriate books and other materials.

As a citizen, I honor the Office of President of the United States. As a former social studies teacher, I appreciate the opportunity for a civics lesson. As an educator, I value a message that encourages students to aim high, complete school and be the best one can be. As a school superintendent, I must consider logistics and accessibility for all, whether during real time or through some alternative measure. That has always been my intent, and it is what I hope this plan will accomplish as we move forward.

The text of the President's address may be viewed at

The address may be viewed online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/

It will also be available live on C-Span on TV.