Generally, I avoid discussing politics. People get all up in arms and I'm not going to change their opinions, no matter what I say. Miles and I discuss the political news from time to time, but we often have to stop, as we get so very frustrated and feel so powerless.
However, this time, I really feel I need to express myself. I didn't pay the news coverage much attention at first. Seemed like just another partisan flap to me. But now, the kerfuffle over President Obama's speech to school children has reached ridiculous proportions.
The Superintendent of Templeton United School District, Dr. Deborah Bowers. has issued a directive to the Templeton schools stating teachers were free to use the President's speech in their classes if they chose, and any student could be excused if they, or their parents, objected. But, then, one of the members of the Templeton Unified School District Board of Trustees Dr. David La Rue, wrote a letter to the District Superintendent threatening punitive action against any teacher or administrator who showed the President's speech in class.
A Special School Board Meeting was held this morning to discuss the issue with the community and parents. Miles attended, as did approximately 70 other people. (The usual community attendance at these meetings is generally less than 1 or2) Out of that number, only 3 people were in favor of not allowing students to see the President's speech. And one of the 3 was a woman who started ranting about Nazis and Socialism. (Miles reports there were scoffs and catcalls from the audience during this woman's statement. Susan said she couldn't help laughing out loud...) Everyone else spoke in favor of the speech being shown to students. One woman, who clutched an American flag, even demanded the recall of Dr.La Rue.
When Dr. La Rue spoke, he insisted he was acting as a parent, still possessing his 1st Amendment rights of free speech, not as a board member. However, he had signed the letter to Dr. Bowers as a School Board Trustee. A fellow board member was disgusted enough to call Dr. La Rue a bully to his face. It seems quite clear Dr. La Rue was attempting to use his privileged position to impose his will upon the Templeton School District's policies.
In the end, the TUSD Board voted 3 to 2 to allow the speech to shown to students.
Why were folks so threatened by a speech from the democratically elected President of the United States? A speech in which Mr. Obama encourages kids to stay in school and work hard? A speech in which the President cites examples of kids who didn't let their disadvantages hold them back, who got a good education despite being ill, or poor or from a broken family?
Beats the heck outta me. Seems pretty stupid.