This is the letter that was sent home with my 7th grader and my 5th grader at the beginning of this week. Notice the last paragraph:
"We are aware that there may be some parents or guardians who do not want to have their child view the speech. If you do not want your child to participate in this scheduled event, please notify your child's principal prior to the broadcast. The building principal will make provisions for an alternative activity for your student."
Though I am certainly no fan of Obama, I take issue with this option for a few reasons...
1) I believe we should teach our children to respect the of 'Office of the President' even when we vehemently disagree with the policies/ideology of a specific president. Giving young children the means to 'opt out' of listening to the President speak sends a complicated message to an impressionable mind. (What would we be saying if students were able to opt out of Bush's talks to the nation after 9/11?)
2) This is a "pep rally" speech about doing good in school and giving parents an option to pull their child gives it a political connotation it shouldn't have. Last year everyone made a huge deal over this speech claiming that Obama would tout socialism, etc...but it was just your standard 'work hard, stay in school' speech.
3) If you choose to pull your child, you have now labeled them for the teachers and the administration as to what political party their parents are affiliated with. God forbid your school houses teachers that have the same belief about the Tea Party that Morgan Freeman has... Now they think YOUR child is the son/daughter of a racist Nazi...
I was tempted to talk to the Elementary school principal about this when I was at the school yesterday, but to make my point I would have needed to stress that I am not an Obama supporter --therefore negating my attempts not to label my 11 year old as being the son of a proud, right-wing nut job.