To the Editor:
I was disappointed by the Wilson County School Board decision to block the broadcast of the President's speech to students.
The rationale explained by the automated calls to parents by the WCSB said the schools instead wanted to focus on teaching the content standards that students are required to learn by the state. It is in my opinion that several of those content standards could have been covered by having the children watch the speech, especially for social studies. After reading the speech, I believe that the President's words could only help teachers engage more students in the content standards.
I attended Wilson County public schools for 12 years starting 1979. I remember watching President Reagan speeches and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaigns, the space shuttle crash, and many other "multimedia" experiences. There wasn't any judgment by teachers or commentary of personal opinions by the teachers, it was just an exposure to the world that I believe we young people really benefited from.
It is my belief that America has become so politically polarized, that its political tactics to defeat opposing ideologies have crossed the line of common sense and is actually damaging American youth. There is something to be said about disagreeing with the President of the United States, your State Representative, or your local school principal. I often do. But as adults, we should always teach our children to respect those people who were placed there by the democratic process or other legal processes. Do you think it would be right to encourage our children to not attend an assembly called by the principal of the school simply because they disagreed with his/her ideologies? I want my community to teach my children as it taught me, "You can always disagree with someone, but you cannot be disrespectful."
There should be an outlet for dissent, however, in this particular case, censoring a speech from the audience it was directed to was not that outlet. I think it was wrong that the WCSB would show its disrespect to the person elected by the majority of Americans to be President of the United States. WCSB clearly set a wrong example and sent a terrible message to young people that you shouldn't be listening to the President because he shouldn't be President because of his unpopularity in Wilson County. And that kind of polarized politics is exactly the kind practiced in Europe, it has never been the American way and has never helped us solve our major problems. Megan MorrisMt. Juliet
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