HISD Reports “Handful” Opted Out of Obama

September 9, 2009

There were “only a handful” of students at Lamar High School whose parents decided to opt out of President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation’s school children, HISD officials said Wednesday.

HISD spokesman Norm Uhl said that 20 students at Lamar, which has 3,000 students, were opted out of the president’s speech Tuesday.

Uhl said that there were 300 students at Westside High School whose parents opted them out of the speech. That’s about 10 percent of the 3,000 students at that high school, Uhl noted.

Pershing Middle School Principal Robin Lowe notified parents of students at the school that the president’s speech would be videotaped and shown later in social studies classes. Parents will be notified before the speech and can choose to opt out then, Lowe said in a letter to parents.

Uhl said that he had heard “from several schools that had only a handful” of students whose parents kept them from hearing the president’s speech.

Uhl said he had received reports from only “some” of HISD schools, and that he did not expect to hear from all of them.

The “opt-outs” ranged from none at Carnegie Vanguard, Mading Elementary, Frost Elementary and Thomas Middle School, to the 300 at Westside High School, Uhl said.

Obama’s speech, delivered Tuesday to students at an Arlington, Va. high school and broadcast nationally, had spurred complaints from parents who did not want their children to participate.

HISD officials decided to allow school administrators to decide whether to broadcast the speech, and to allow parents to ask that their children be “opted out” of the address while participating in alternative learning activities.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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