Schoharie Central School got off easy with President Obama’s speech:
School didn’t start till Wednesday.
Middleburgh High School Principal Lori Petrisino said she heard of one call—and didn’t know if it was for or against showing the speech.
And at Sharon Springs, the phones didn’t ring once.
“With everything that was going on the radio, I was surprised that we didn’t get at least one call,” SSCS Superintendent Pat Green said.
A former Social Studies teacher, Mr. Green said he left the decision on whether to show the speech—now or later—up to teachers.
“I gave no edicts one way or the other,” he said. “And I wouldn’t.
“But walking around the school the first day, I think most teachers were focused on getting the year off to a good start…reviewing expectations and getting things in order.”
With everything so accessible on the internet, Mr. Green said it’s usually easier for teachers and students to view something like President Obama’s speech that way, rather than bring everyone into the auditorium—especially on the first day of school.
“I believe in teachable moments and individual teacher decisions,” Mr. Green said, adding that’s what he would have told anyone who called to complain.
“You need controversy in the classroom. Especially in the high school, discussions like this, helping them sort through the rhetoric and the politics, it brings things to life,” he said.
Mr. Green also pointed out that it sounded like he and President Obama are on the same wavelength.
“He said essentially the same thing I said in my Code of Conduct assembly. Listen, cooperate, do your best.”
At SCS, where school didn’t start till a day after the controversy, High School Principal Stacey Adams said Superintendent Brian Sherman downloaded the speech and made it available to teachers for use later as they chose.
Because school was so busy there Wednesday, Ms. Adams said she didn’t know how many teachers used the speech.
Only one parent called saying they didn’t want their high school child to watch it, she said, and they were told to send in a note so the student could be provided with a different assignment.
MCS High School Principal Lori Petrosino also didn’t know if any teachers showed the speech.
Only one parent called about it, she said.