by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--School district officials want to remind all parents, the President's Internet address is not mandatory. That's why they are leaving it up individual campus principals to decide who can and should watch. Even so, residents NewsWest 9 spoke to, aren't too thrilled about the idea.
"I don't think he should be in the schools at all. The kids won't know what he's talking about," Robert Bradshaw of Odessa, said.
After making phone calls to school districts across the Basin, NewsWest 9 found out, most didn't even know about next week's Presidential address. President Barack Obama will be talking to students on the Internet about the importance of education.
Local reactions are mixed, from staunch opposition from residents like Steve from Odessa, "I don't think Obama should force anybody to make decisions for themselves. I think that is the right of the individual."
But there are those like Bradshaw who like the general idea, "Well, it's a good idea to try to encourage them to stay in school. I go along with that. But if he's the person to do it, I think it begins at home. The parents need to be doing more to keep their kids in school."
Then there are those, like Yvette Aguirre from Odessa, that are a little more middle of the road, "I just kind of think it's a good or bad, it's 50-50. If the parent wants them to be there and watch it, I think they have the right to keep them there or they can decide to take them out for that time period."
Everyone NewsWest 9 spoke to had strong opinions one way or the other, but most would not make them on camera.
School districts like Ector and Midland, tell NewsWest 9, they are following a policy in the student handbook dealing with parental rights. If any parent does not want their child to view this presentation, all they have to do is make arrangements with their school principal.
Whether it's optional or mandatory, parents like Steve, still think it should be up to them, "I would definitely be against it for the fact that I think everybody should have the right to make their own choices, not the Government or the President making it for them."
If you would like to see the speech itself, it's next Tuesday, September 8th. Just log on to www.whitehouse.gov. It starts at 11 a.m.
If you would like to see the Department of Education's letter to principals to see what the President will be talking about, just click on News Links at the top of the page.