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Editorial: Shield kids from Obama?

Where to start with the fact that controversy has erupted in the local schools over a “pep talk" that our nation’s president, Barack Obama, wanted to give to kids as the school year commenced.

Apparently some Laguna Beach parents didn’t want their children to hear the “stay in school and do your homework" message of this president, and threatened to keep their kids at home unless the TV was turned off Tuesday.

Nervous school officials acquiesced to the (no doubt hysterical) demands, instead of taking a leadership role, and pulled the plug on a positive first-day-of-school message from our elected leader "” and even took the precaution of calling in the lawyers to figure out how to allow dissenting parents to “opt out" of any future showing for their kids.

So Laguna kids, instead of being included in a national conversation in the schools about responsibility and the value of education, got a snoot-full of partisan politics.

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The speech is supposed to have been taped by school officials for review prior to distributing it to teachers for future use in the classroom "” but only for those kids whose parents are willing to let the president speak to them.

The whole episode makes one queasy.

Since when is a U.S. president unfit to appear before schoolchildren? Have partisan politics sunk this low?

Other parents and many community members are incensed at this end-run around a presidential message "” a message with no political content but a heartfelt talk to kids.

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We have to agree with them, and hope those parents who want to shield their children from a U.S. president think again. The democratic system is for everyone in this country, not just for those with whom you see eye-to-eye.

This president is everyone’s president.

That’s a civics lesson those parents "” and school officials "” need to learn.

As we mark the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks today, let’s not forget that we must keep democracy strong here at home if we are to lead the world.



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