By ERIC THOMPSON
I am dismayed at the most recent local display of disrespect for the Office of the President of the United States. That parents would keep their children out of school so not to hear the President speak about education is sad, but for school boards and/or superintendents to deny students from hearing this message is tragic. George W. Bush was far from being my favorite President, however, I respect the office and would have welcomed his comments on education for my children when they were in school.
Nothing in President Obama’s speech hinted of any political agenda controversial or otherwise. The State of Tennessee has one of the highest high school drop-out rates in the country, and yes, there are many reasons why students may drop out of schools and each needs to be addressed. However, President Obama’s success story may serve as an inspiration and should be heard regardless of his politics. If he can persuade just one undecided student to study and stay in school, wouldn’t this effort be worth the time? Perhaps students whose parents were afraid for them to listen could have had the opportunity to reach their own conclusions.
Again, sad as it is, at least the Lebanon Special School District allowed parents to sign consent forms so that their children could listen to the President. One upset parent, however, told me that her child didn’t watch because his teacher, who is an educated person supposedly, couldn’t remember the time or which TV station the speech was broadcast. But then, what kind of message is being sent when the Director of Wilson County Schools describes President Obama’s speech on education as a “disruption?”
Editor’s Note: Eric Thompson is a resident of Lebanon and isexecutive director of Prospect, Inc.