One local school district succumbed to the national brouhaha over the President giving a speech to students. While other Eastern Sierra school districts let individual teachers decide whether or not to show this speech, the speech was not allowed to be shown at Schools in Bishop.
The speech gained notoriety far before it was actually given to school students across the country as the national media was spun into a frenzy by people who were concerned that the President of the United States was trying to indoctrinate, children. A look at the text of the speech shows a president speaking of hard work and taking study seriously. Nonetheless, controversy abounds these days, and the Eastern Sierra is not immune.
Dr. Frank Romero with the Mammoth Unified School District says he didnt see anything political in the speech. He also did not hear any expressions of concern from parents so he left the decision up to individual teachers. Romero says that only a few classrooms in the Mammoth Unified School District chose to show the speech.
Don Clark, the Superintendent for the Eastern Sierra Unified School District in Mono County, also left the decision up to the teachers. Clark says that he received only one e-mail from a parent that wanted their daughter to opt out of the speech if it was shown.
In Bishop, the opposition to the presidential speech was greater. Bishop Schools Superintendent Barry Simpson contacted parents over the weekend to inform the parents that the speech would not be shown to Bishop students.
With pressure from many parents who opposed the speech, Bishop Schools Superintendent Barry Simpson decided not to show the speech. This left the superintendent out of the frying pan with some parents and into the fire with others.
Simpson says, as one might expect, we have received a number of comments and inquiries about the school districts decision not to air the webcast at our schools today.
Simpson takes full responsibility for the decision and says that the school board was not involved. He says taking into account the opposing viewpoints from our community, I decided not to air the address at school, but rather to encourage our parents to watch the message with their children at home. It was my intention to empower our parents to make a decision at home on how they wanted to view the message.”
Perhaps underestimating the furor of those that oppose the president and those that didnt mind letting their children hear the speech, Simpson says, I did not intend to make a political statement, but I understand now how my decision can be construed as such. I meant no disrespect and I apologize if my decision has offended anyone.