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Sounding Off: Speech should have been seen

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was addressed to the Laguna Beach Board of Education.

It was with complete disbelief followed by great chagrin and embarrassment that I heard the news at the community pool this morning.

“No," I said, “I can’t believe that children in LBUSD were prevented from hearing the president’s speech in school."

As one older woman present in the Aqua Fit group stated, “This is about civility and respect and should not have been politicized. What a shameful development that our educators are afraid of offending some with ideas."

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I cannot fathom why the leadership in Laguna Beach Unified School District flaked out on this one. I have no information about whether this decision was made by the board, the superintendent or the principals. I do, however, expect some accountability for this thinking.

Despite the warnings of right-wing radio hosts, I believe that our children could have been exposed to the risk of learning a lesson in civics.

This (recovering) Republican taxpayer, for one, would have preferred that Laguna children view a televised address by the duly-elected leader of these United States, President Obama, on the controversial subject of the importance of school.

Instead, it appears a cowardly act to avoid controversy trumped common sense. Every president since Ronald Reagan has addressed the nation’s schools.

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As a child from a Goldwater Republican household, I listened as President Kennedy encouraged us to become physically fit "” broadcast in the schools. Although my parents considered JFK and FDR to be versions of the anti-Christ, we were taught to respect the office of President of the United States and to think critically about what its occupants said. End of story.

It is my hope that this self-imposed controversy will challenge the board to rethink its mission about education. It is my dream that your constituents will receive a collective mea culpa.

It is truly a sad day when a group of parents fears and seeks to protect their children from ideas at the expense of other children and a larger lesson. Wow, I thought adults were in charge.


EILEEN T. WALSH lives in Aliso Viejo.


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