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School board's blackout of Obama speech criticized

Union Tribune (2009-09-09) Michele Clock

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School board's blackout of Obama speech criticized

By Michele Clock

Union-Tribune Staff Writer

1:22 p.m. September 9, 2009

LA MESA — The La Mesa Spring Valley school board's decision preventing teachers from showing President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday has sparked an angry backlash.

Local teachers union President Paul Schnaubelt described the board's 3-2 vote at an unusual Labor Day special session as micromanagement that is detrimental to both students and the district.

“Our students learned yesterday that listening to authority is an option,” Schnaubelt said. “And this is a very dangerous lesson to have taught them.”

He said the school board should allow the administration to decide how to handle instruction and curriculum, and that the board didn't let the administration make the call when it came to the president's speech.

Superintendent Brian Marshall has said that he had planned to show the speech in the schools, giving parents the choice to opt their children out of listening.

Schnaubelt also said he believed the board had violated an academic freedom provision in its contract with the La Mesa Spring Valley Teachers Association, which represents more than 725 employees. And he was researching whether the board had violated other policies.

The backlash against the school board's vote has been intense. School Board member Rick Winet, one of the three trustees who voted in favor of blocking the speech Tuesday, wrote in a statement that he and his colleagues had received “hundreds of e-mails,” with a majority after the vote critical of the board's decision.

La Presa Elementary School PTA President Christina Hicks said Wednesday she was disheartened by the board's decision and that she didn't understand what was wrong with students taking 15 or 20 minutes out of their day to watch the president speak.

“It needed to be shown yesterday (out of) respect of the president of the United States,” she said.

Hicks said some parents are also angry over the board's decision and that La Presa Elementary School plans to show the president's speech to students next week. She said she plans to show up at a district board meeting Tuesday and voice her opinion.

Michele Clock: (619) 542-4577;

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Title School board's blackout of Obama speech criticized
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Michele Clock
Pub Date 2009-09-09
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Keywords La Mesa Spring Valley School Board
Media Type Linked Article
Media Group News
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Topic revision: r1 - 16 Sep 2009, RaymondLutz
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