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September 8th, 2009
10:04 AM ET

Schools banning the president's pep talk

When the president gives his back-to-school pep talk today at noon, students all over America will be listening.

The text of the speech has been posted online for parents to read, but some schools still don't want their children to hear it. CNN's Gary Tuchman went out to find out why.

Program Note: Watch President Obama's back-to-school speech live on CNN at noon.

Filed under: Controversy • Education
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. mike

    I cannot understand how PUBLIC SCHOOLS can stop the president from speaking when they get tax payer money to support there school lets just stop the money and see how fast they will change there tune

    September 11, 2009 at 6:50 am |
  2. al mackenzie

    Obama is the product of the "American Dream". He came from poor roots, got a Harvard education and is now president of the country. How can you NOT respect that? He is the model of working for what he has. He didnt have daddy's oil money behind him. He actually had to work for what he has, it wasnt given to him like GW Bush. And as for not having a mandate. GW Bush had to have the supreme court declare him the winner and therefore president. That sounds like a tight electoral race. Not much of a mandate there. But he still dragged the country into an unjust war. Obama didnt have to go to the courts to win the election. He won on the vote count alone. Sounds like a much stronger mandate than Bush had. Dont forget that court battles to decide the winner. I think Obama has a much stronger mandate than GW Bush EVER had. You may not like it...but the people have spoken. Do you have any respect for their voice?

    September 9, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  3. Dan Simms

    My kids came home from school with 2 major impressions: First, that they loved the Obama speech and how it felt like he was talking directly to them. Second, they wanted to know if the Republican group that tried to stop the speech was a bad group who hated America. Great job Right Wing! You have tainted the image of the entire Republican Party with the newest generation of young people.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  4. jay m

    you show me a family who didn't want their children to hear the speech, and I'll show you a right wing nut job.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  5. jim vicalvi

    I picked out a few of the more ludicrous comments to reply to including one with my name on it. To: steven-with your convoluted, infantile reasoning that would mean that all of us that didn't vote for obummer should have their tax refunds taken away. Possibly their citizenship. Obummer didn't get a mandate. He barely squeaked into office. To:tom the people that ELECTED these principals were the ones who told their APPOINTED public servants what they wanted. They are not washington politicians who answer to lobbyists. These people actually answer to the PUBLIC. To Dan hansman-It wasn't the speech that was controversial altho it would be nice to see what the ORIGINAL speech said. Before it was "revised". The comments against obummer were more AMERICAN than yours. Being able to make these comments is what makes us the greatest country in the world. I saved the worst for last. Michelle, you are the type of person that allowed the pied piper of washington to get into office. You can't find a rational intelligent reason to disprove obummers's critics. So, you resort to the race card. Obummer isn't black. He is half white-half black. I won't go into the names he could be called because I don't care. Obummer is the one who has rejected his white heritage and the people that actually raised him and went back to his roots with the father that abandoned him. How contemptible. No I don't have any respect for him and don't apologize to someone like you. You and your ILK are the real racists in this equation. Look at the socialists and communists that he is putting in his administration. He won't get killed by any of this wacko pastors followers. I hope and believe that he will be impeached when his dem. followers are thrown out of office.

    September 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  6. Javier Segura

    I just want to see what FOX have to say about ,this clearly incendiary and Communist, speech!!!

    FOX, please:

    Save our children... the demon is talking to them...!!!!

    Save our poor... the demon is trying to help them...!!!

    Save our people... The demon is trying to make us think!!!

    Good Bless America, because I know that the common sense will prevail... or maybe not...

    Jokes aside.... This may be one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of the Republican Conservatism. And it is for free... because the Liberals do not need such an easy target... And for us, Independent America.... let´s try to bring peace and common sense to our beloved nation.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  7. Dee

    Some educators should feel really stupid, that they would have the audacity to monitor the speech of a Harvard graduate, and a person who has the top speech writers in the country to guide his thoughts. Why don't we step back and give the man a fair chance. He couldn't do any worse than his predecesors. We have as a nation thrown continuance roadblocks at Obama, while the actions are still in the air. Obama is trying to appease the low and middle class, the working class people, the true builders of this country; finally we have a voice. Yet, we still allow the rich to put these stupid thoughts in our heads without thinking for ourselves, and striving for higher ground.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  8. keebler

    Thank you Wes for pointing out how ignorant steve is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  9. DAJ

    "Every school that bans the Presidents speech should be cut off from all federal funding, every administrator and teacher fired..."

    Interesting [read: zealotous] response from Steven. I took particular note of his incendiary language... "BANS the President's speech." As a public school teacher, I have read the notice regarding the speech coming from the White House Office. It very clearly states that the speech is optional, and is presented as a curricular opportunity for any schools who would like to utilize it. I'm not quite sure how one would "ban" an optional webcast. That aside, the President's address is a good opportunity for students to hear a message touting responsibility and the importance of education (a message that far too few children are hearing from their parents in recent years). Perhaps Steven has not considered that the teachers at these institutions may not have been given a choice in the matter. Or, perhaps he believes that every employee of any organization whose leadership makes a decision he disagrees with should be forced to pay the penalty. I would ask Steven if every employee of AIG should be fired. I would ask Steven if every employee of Washington Mutual, Citigroup, or Merrill Lynch should be fired. If Steven were in charge, I can only hope that the manager of the local Harris Teeter doesn't chose to stop carrying Steven's favorite salsa; that would be a lot of poor cashiers, stockers, and baggers out of work!

    Just recently I was speaking with my father about why I have become disenchanted with politics in the U.S. I told him that paritisanship, reactionary hyperbole, and endless exaggeration (on both sides of the aisle) was wearing thin on me. Mr. Steve here is a good example...

    September 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Jim

    To Steven,

    Are you kidding me? Just because I may not want my children to hear a speech I should have them taken away or banned from schools? You must be nuts. Your comments are the exact thing that really gets me because you are being a communist. This has nothing to do with race. I would be concerned about the content of the speech that is all. Is it going to be political or not . If it just a message that says stay in school and say no to drugs great no problem. Have at it. But back to your comments, see I think you are forgetting that we live in th UNITED States of America and we live free. We can choose to not listen to the President and have that chose. I should not be forced nor should our kids be forced into listening to something I/they do not want to hear.

    September 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Mike

    Steven, that is hilariously absurd. Fun to contemplate, but it would cause far more problems than it would fix.

    Is anyone really surprised by some of these parent's decisions? The right-wing media has all but named Obama a child molester. If you truly believed what they told you, that he was not a real American citizen, that he was born in Kenya, that the State of Hawaii has intentionally mislead the rest of the country, that he is a socialist, communist, fascist, dictator, then it makes sense that they wouldn't want their kids hearing his speech.

    The real problem is that some people will believe just about anything.

    September 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  12. Wes

    Every school that bans Prayer in Schools should be cut off from all federal funding, every administrator and teacher fired, and every parent that stops their child from praying in school should have that child removed from all public education institutions. Let these racist, America hating monsters know once and for all that to sow hatred is reap the wrath of rejection!

    September 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  13. Tom

    For those who think this idea of schools being allowed to block what the duly elected President of the United States says is wrong, then tell those same school boards they are also politically appointed by ELECTED officials or ELECTED officials themselves. Put some voter heat on those elected officials. Tell your county commissioners you are a voter and you do not like what they allowed their appointees to do.

    September 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Michelle

    Markp and jimvicalvi, you are exactly what is wrong with this country.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  15. Janet Glazier

    Mr. Gibbs and your community missed out on a great speach, but most of all, a great learning lesson.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Kim

    I think that this is one of the most ridiculous arguments I have ever heard of in my life! I dont understand why people would be upset with anyone telling children about staying in school, getting an education, being respondsible for themselves would make anyone upset. Is this not the same things good parents tell their children everyday? What the hell is the big deal. No healthcare arguments were made, in fact, no agendas were made except getting a good education. When all the jobs go overseas because they are better educated and able to compete for jobs, then what? I guess that will be President Barack Obama's fault also?

    September 8, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  17. Steven

    Every school that bans the Presidents speech should be cut off from all federal funding, every administrator and teacher fired, and every parent that stops their child from seeing the speech should have that child removed from all public education institutions. Let these racist, America hating monsters know once and for all that to sow hatred is reap the wrath of rejection!

    September 8, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  18. jim vicalvi

    markp. I wholehardedly agree with your opinion of obummer but to say the hillary would have been better leaves you at 50%. Right around where obummer's approval ratings are now. Everybody knows what head slick willie thinks with and I believe that hilliary was the one making the actual decisions and they were pretty bad. Can you imagine slick willie as the "First Gentleman"? The budget would have been bankrupted more than it is by buying all of those chastity belts. And, before you put the rightwing, racist conservitive label on me I am none of them. I detest all of our politicians equally. They are all thieves. With 3000 lobbyists with wads of cash in their hands, who do you think is really running this country. It ain't us!! I am so tired of voting for the lesser of two evils every election. They should really put in the none of the above choice on the ballots.

    September 8, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  19. Janet Glazier

    Chris Gibbs-You are what they call a "wingnut"
    Out of fear and not educated intelligance you let ignorance decide the future of those children.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  20. Janet Glazier

    Our Mission
    Our mission at Claremont Elementary is to nurture the academic and personal growth of all students within an atmosphere of love, trust, safety, and mutual respect while providing a warm, safe, academically-challenging environment in which all students develop a love of learning and an appreciation for the power of character in our world.
    This is your mission statement.So don't listen to those naysayers.
    Those children need to hear the Presidents speach.
    He is a great mentor.
    There is nothing in that speach that would prove otherwise.
    Let politics aside and give those children a chance to listen and learn how to better themselves for their future!

    September 8, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  21. Sharon,Daniel Island

    i wonder how many objections would be made if the Pres. was white. I really hate bringing up the race card but it seems the new voices are filled with thinly disguised racial overtones and I hate it

    September 8, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  22. Mark

    What do parents fear from their children listening to the president's speech? It's available to view to everyone, can anyone tell me what is so offensive about it?

    September 8, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  23. markp

    The presidents lack of leadership, governing and all around character is coming home to roost.. If the people were not so infatuated with him Hillary would be leadind the country where we needed to be...

    September 8, 2009 at 10:10 am |