Some schools not airing Obama's student address

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As students head back to school on Tuesday, President Obama will already have homework for them. In a speech addressed to students across the country, grades K through 12, he'll encourage them to work hard and stay in school so they can be successful.

"I wouldn't have been at this ceremony," said Obama in a commercial about the speech. "If I would have been at this ceremony first."

"It's one of the first presidents to talk to the kids about school," said Kayla Banks, 12. "And I think it's very, it's something good that the kids can listen to."

The speech has some controversy however. Some believe it will interrupt the first day of school. Others are concerned that the President could be trying to push his own agendas on the minds of impressionable students.

"I knew when I was a kid it would have been a pretty big deal to have the president come and address school children," said parent Matt Foss. "But given the political climate we live in now it's kind of a tough call until you see what's going to be spun."

A transcript of the speech is available online so concerned parents can read it for themselves but some schools decided not to show it at all. Parents we spoke with wonder why they weren't given the option of letting their child see it.

"I think it's unfortunate because all kids can hear this message," said parent Keith Banks.

"It's kind of mixed feelings I guess," said Banks' wife, Katrina. "Like I said it's current if they have an understanding should know what's going on and should be able to watch it."

Obama's address is scheduled for 12 p.m. Tuesday. He'll speak from a school in Arlington.

Here's a breakdown of how local school districts are handling the address:

Chesterfield and Hanover counties will not air the speech, but say it will be available for teachers to use later if they choose. Students will be able to "opt out" if their parents desire that.

In Henrico, teachers can show the speech only if they have notified parents in advance and allow students to opt out.

Powhatan County will not show the speech tomorrow, but will offer it at a later date. Parents must sign a form for their children to view the message.

Commerce secretary Gary Locke will watch with students at Holton Elementary in Richmond.

Colonial Heights will not show the address.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.