Under an onslaught of vocal protests that President Obama’s “stay in school and study hard” speech was a means to “indoctrinate” children into “socialist” values and the President’s political “agenda” schools and whole school districts decided not to show the speech. For a partial list of schools and school districts that have canceled the speech click here.
Nobody equipped with the slightest amount of common sense would argue that one speech, however eloquent, would turn kids into unthinking slaves of ideas their parents hate. At most, it will make them aware that there are other views and beliefs in the world.
But this may be precisely what parents fear: not that their child will fall into the grip of Obama’s alleged “socialism” but that their own grip on their children’s minds may slip a little. They fear that they will fail in their attempts to instill in their children particular beliefs. They fear losing control over how their children live their lives. They fear the critical examination and possible rejection of their deeply held beliefs.
Most parents want the best for their children. Some are convinced that means their children must adhere to their views and follow their dictates. However, they are misguided if they think they can achieve this result by keeping their children from reading certain books, hearing certain speeches, or learning what scientists think.
Worse, by imposing the fears of a few parents on whole school districts they take away the rights of other children to see the speech and develop their understanding of civics, as well as the rights of other parents who want an open school environment where a Presidential speech is not treated as an R-rated movie.
Parents who have concerns about their children’s exposure to a democratically elected president have the right to guide them and explain their disagreement with the President’s policies, but not to interfere with the choices other parents make for their children.