A fourth-grade teacher in Michigan sent an email to parents saying he was so concerned about what Donald Trump might say in his presidential inaugural address on Jan. 20 that he won’t allow his students to watch the new commander in chief deliver it.
Bret Meteyer, of Explorer Elementary School in the Williamston Community Schools district, told parents he was concerned about derogatory remarks Trump has made about women, minorities and other groups of people. The email was published by Michigan radio host Steve Gruber, who said he received the email from a parent. Meteyer said his students would watch the inauguration ceremony but not the speech:
“Because I am concerned about my students and your children being exposed to language and behavior that is not in concert with the most conservative social and family values, I have decided to show the inauguration of Donald Trump this Friday, but we will not view Mr. Trump’s inauguration speech.”
Parents apparently complained to the district superintendent, Narda K. Murphy, who posted a letter on the district website saying that it was up to teachers to decide how to run their class. Her letter is below:
The inauguration will be broadcast during the school day — at different times depending on time zone — and across the country teachers are deciding whether to let students watch and/or listen. In most places, it appears that teachers are being given discretion by administrators. That’s what 9News found in a survey of big school districts in Colorado, for example. “Watching the inauguration is up to leaders at each individual school,” a Denver public schools district spokesman told the station.
In the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta, school districts are allowing teachers to decide, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. DeKalb County officials sent the principals of each school instructions on how teachers who choose to tune in should handle the occasion, including a warning for teachers not to inject their personal views.
Some districts in various states are sending out forms to parents allowing them to opt their children out of any inaugural-watching activity, and they are providing alternative activities during that time. Parents of students in Greenville County Schools, in South Carolina, parents can opt their children out, the Greenville Journal reported. The district’s communications director, Beth Brotherton, told the Journal that the decision to watch should be made on instructional grounds and tied to state standards.