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Opt-out disbelief

Posted: September 19, 2009 7:55 p.m.
Updated: September 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I am a United States Government teacher at Canyon High School, charged with teaching government and about diverse political views — not just right-wing or left-wing views, but all political views.

I teach about the Republican platform and the Democratic platform and help students understand both.

This allows my students to find their own views.

The legally elected, duly sworn-in President of the United States gave a speech to students on Tuesday, Sept 8.  

I was in disbelief when I learned our school district would allow parents to opt their children out of hearing the president’s speech.

I cannot imagine parents opting their high school students out of hearing any seated president speak ... or a school district that would allow them to do so.

Can anyone fathom a student’s parents being allowed to opt their children out of a speech by President Bush to students in this district?

If parents would have opted their children out of listening to a presidential address to the nation made by a Republican, we would have called the parents and the children unpatriotic.

We would have called them narrow-minded and accused them of shielding their children from the truth.

The office of the president deserves respect — no matter who is sitting in the chair.

As a Republican who served on a Republican presidential commission, I still believe in people having the right to think for themselves.

I believe education is the only cure for prejudice and ignorance. I have had my students listen to and discuss Democrats’ speeches and Republicans’ speeches.

That is how we learn.  

The district and the state allow us to show videos of Hitler’s speeches ... makes me worry about what the district or parents think is harmful and what is not.

I understand a parent not wanting a student to miss their math time or science class to listen to political speeches, but I teach government and history.  

I hope parents and educators from all points on the political spectrum will in the future stand up for the right of a high school student to listen to a presidential address in their Social Studies class.

To do less is putting us back 100 years.

We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for their people’s right to hear views different from those of the dictators who hold them captive.

Shouldn’t your children, our students, have the same rights?


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