Parents respond to uproar over Obama back to school speech

Watch video of the president's speech using the video player at the top of this page.

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Katie Parr spent Labor Day at the park with her two children. When her six-year-old son returns to school on Tuesday, Parr hopes he gets a chance to hear what President Barack Obama has to say.

"The address is going to be about keeping kids in school and having good grades. I don't see how we can argue with that or that is negative in anyway," Parr said.

Parr doesn't understand all the flap over the president's speech to school children.  Several groups and even parents across the country have raised concerns, claiming Mr. Obama is trying to indoctrinate children with his political agenda.

"It's kind of silly to me. I feel people are making a big deal out of nothing," Parr said. "We need to teach our kids to stay in school. I feel that's very important."

The speech does touch on the topic of personal responsibility, along with setting goals and discovering your talents.

The White House posted the remarks on Monday.  According to the text of the speech, the President will tell kids, "We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems.  If you don't do that, if you quit on school, you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country."

Dianne Groce of Gulfport says it's a message children need to hear.

"He's the leader of our country and I think that education is very important, and I think it's important to him and I think it's important that they hear from our leaders," Groce said.

Groce is speaking not only as a parent of two school-age children. She is also a teacher at North Woolmarket Elementary/Middle School.

"We plan to show it in our classrooms tomorrow and talk about it," she said.

Some south Mississippi school superintendents say parents who still object to the remarks can pull their children out of class until the 20 minute speech is over.

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