Pinellas students will watch Obama's speech (unless their parents don't want them to)
The Pinellas County School District has a different approach to President Obama's back-to-school speech this year. Which is: Students will see it in school, unless a parent requests they opt out.
Last year, then-high-riding Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer (now in all kinds of legal hot water) helped elevate the speech into a national controversy with bat-crazy claims that the president would indoctrinate children with socialist ideology. As the madness intensified, Pinellas Superintendent Julie Janssen first told principals they could show the webcast if they wanted to, then said kids whose parents didn't want them to watch would be given an excused absence from school.
This year? Here's what district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn told The Gradebook today: "Schools in Pinellas will be showing the President’s speech on Sept. 14. We believe the President’s message, which will focus on studying, staying in school and taking responsibility for their education, is important for students to hear. Normal classroom video guidelines will be followed – should a school receive a request from a parent that a student not participate, instructional accommodations will be made."