Obama message may be seen later

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Barack Obama’s public address to students across the country on the first day of school was not presented system-wide in Suffolk Public Schools, but the presentation may be shown later in the school year.

Obama’s back to school address came under much controversy after the U.S. Department of Education released teacher lesson plans to coincide with the speech. In the original lesson plans, students were asked to write a paper about how they could “help the president,” which upset many Americans who claimed the White House was forcing impressionable students to support its policies.

Suffolk Public Schools Public Information Officer Bethanne Bradshaw said the decision not to show the address came as a matter of practicality, not politics.

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“With it being the first day of school, we decided it might not go with the flow for teachers in the classroom,” Bradshaw said. “We had already made our decision before the controversy. If it had been next week, it would have been a different decision.”

Individual schools had the decision to watch the address in real time, but the administrative offices taped the address and will provide for it for teachers who wish to watch it and incorporate it into their curriculum.

A recording of Obama’s speech is also available for anyone to watch at www.whitehouse.gov or at the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site, www.ed.gov.