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New Jersey School Kids Sing About Obama


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You Tube Video

I hadn't heard anything about this until I saw the front page of my newspaper, The Burlington County Times, today.

Video stirs controversy


Burlington County Times

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP - An Internet video showing children at a local elementary school singing a song praising President Barack Obama is garnering national attention and its appropriateness will be the subject of a school district review.

The video, which was posted on the Web site YouTube, shows more than a dozen children from the B. Bernice Young Elementary School dancing and singing a song about the president.

The song's chorus includes the chant, "Mmm, mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama," as well as verses about Obama statements and rhetoric.

"He said that all must lend a hand/To make this country strong again/Mmm, mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama" goes one verse.

Another verse touts an equal-pay measure Obama signed after becoming president: "He said we must be clear today/Equal work means equal pay."

Stories about the video appeared on Fox News and Internet blogs, some of which accused the school of indoctrinating students to support Obama and his policies.

Superintendent Christopher Manno and other school officials said the video shows students rehearsing the song for an assembly related to Black History Month last February. They performed the song at schoolwide assemblies Feb. 26 and 27. The latter assembly was open to parents.

Manno declined to identify the teacher because doing so would identify the students in the video, but he defended the performance as a legitimate educational activity related to Black History Month.

"Our teachers regularly recognize Black History Month and the children learn about various African-American individuals who have served and contributed to our country. The children learn about Martin Luther King and other prominent African-Americans, and certainly Barack Obama is a prominent African-American," Manno said in an interview.

"There was no intention to indoctrinate children. There was no political agenda underlying the activity. The teacher's intention was to engage the children in an activity to recognize famous and accomplished African-Americans during Black History Month," Manno continued. "We are not in the business of promoting a political agenda and there was no intention to promote a political agenda."

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Education said Lucille E. Davy, state commissioner of education, has directed Manno to conduct a review of the matter to "ensure that students can celebrate the achievement of African-Americans during Black History Month without the inappropriate partisan politics in the classroom, as well as ensuring the privacy of children is not violated."

The spokeswoman said the department was informed that the teacher who taught the children the song retired at the end of the school year.

Manno said the district does not know who posted the video on YouTube. He said the person did not have the district's permission to do so.

Manno said the district asked township police to investigate and was told that posting the video was not a criminal act.

Public Safety Director Walt Corter said police also investigated reports that threats were made against the school district because of the video and found that they were unsubstantiated.

"We will continue to work with the school, as we do daily to ensure student safety," Corter said.

Advertisement Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin reported Thursday that the video was posted by Charisse Carney-Nunes, a Washington, D.C., author who wrote a children's book about the president titled, "I Am Barack Obama."

School district officials said Carney-Nunes appeared at an assembly and book signings in the district in March, but that the Obama song was not performed then.

Carney-Nunes could not be reached for comment.

The office of the White House press secretary also did not respond to requests for comment about the video and the attention it has received.

The school district sent a letter home to parents Thursday addressing the video and also posted a statement on its Web page. The site was down for most of the day because of high traffic.

School officials said the district also was inundated with phone calls and e-mails from parents.

Leslie Gibson, who has two children at the Young school, said she was "shocked and outraged" by the video.

"They're pushing their views on (children) and the president had only been in office six weeks when this was shot. + So how can he be the greatest person if he's not dead, he hasn't proven himself, he's not out of office? + That made me angry," Gibson said Thursday afternoon outside the school. "Also, the fact that they were praising the children for singing these words, (which) their parents had no idea that they were saying (and which) may not project their political views or their parents' political views. The politics should be kept home, just like religion."

Other parents attending Back to School Night at the Young school Thursday had varying opinions.

"I think (the song) was a little too political," said one parent, who asked not to be identified. "I think it's outside of what they really understand."

Another parent said she felt the controversy was being overblown.

"I don't think there should be any problem with kids giving praise to the president. They're showing patriotism. What's the big deal?" said the parent, who declined to identify herself. "The people who are blowing this out of proportion need to get a life."

This is not the first time the Burlington Township School District has been thrust into the national spotlight.

The district drew the ire of several conservative groups in 2007, when it hosted a police and emergency drill at the high school that involved fictional members of an armed "right wing fundamentalist group."

The fictional scenario did not specify any religion, but many believed it described the school invaders as conservative Christians.

Conservative groups and bloggers from across the nation learned about the drill and leveled criticism at the police and school district. Fox News also aired commentary about the event.

I can see where some would have a problem with this. I personally do not considering it was conducted during Black History Month and hasn't been recited or performed since last February. I agree injecting politics into elementary school kids in this fashion can be risky, and probably not suitable considering most are too young to understand any real context. I, however, don't see this as a propaganda tool or any of that nonsense.

On a side note: The argument of separation of politics, like religion, from schools is a bit on the hypocricy side if you ask me. This, coming from a majority (Fox News Alum) who have no problem whatsoever with our national pledge phrasing "Under God" to all school children. And when one discusses removing it, you would have thought you pissed on the Constitution itself.

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For me, this comes off on the same general level of that "Jesus Camp" movie where they praised George W. Bush.

I thought that was equally troubling.

But at least that wasn't in a public school.

It's hard to shake the point that many of the video's comments made about parallels to North Korean school kids.

First off, I don't care for praising the President by name, rather than just respect for the office of President.

That being said, I'm not even too crazy about praising the office, in that the President (whoever it is) is there to serve "we, the people", not the other way around.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Protesters to target Young school

Burlington County Times

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP - In response to the controversy over a video about President Barack Obama that surfaced on YouTube in September, several groups are planning a protest at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School on Neck Road on Monday morning.

According to a source, members of at least three groups - the 9/12 Burlington County Group, the Jersey Shore Tea Party Patriots and the Bayshore Tea Party Group - will gather at the school at 10 a.m. to support "the constitutional rights of our children" and protest against "the progressive social agenda promoted by the New Jersey Education Association and the National Education Association."

Director of Public Safety Walt Corter said Thursday that he had been in contact with the Jersey Shore Tea Party Patriots regarding the protest and last communicated with the group by e-mail Wednesday morning.

In the e-mail, Corter stated, "As we discussed on Oct. 6 and again this morning Oct. 7 during our telephone conversation, you are free to assemble and voice your objections to what occurred at the Young school, but you are reminded, for planning purposes, the township, by ordinance, requires an event permit for any rally or demonstration held in Burlington Township."

Township Clerk Anthony Carnivale said no event permits had been filed by any group as of Thursday afternoon.

Though Monday is Columbus Day, classes will be in session at the township's schools, Corter said.

"The school is open and that information was provided to that organization," he said. "They were told - and I did express concerns - that it's a school that houses the youngest of our students."

Corter said the media will be allowed only on sidewalks where the public has the right of way and not on school grounds.

"Basically our main concern is the safety of everyone that's going to be there, but our priority is the children and the staff at the Bernice Young school," Corter said.

Superintendent Christopher Manno said he also had been in contact with the rally organizer.

"I requested directly that they reconsider the rally, since school is in session. I told the organizer that our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff and we're concerned about this making our students uncomfortable," Manno said.

Advertisement "I also offered to meet personally with the organizer of the event to discuss this matter in lieu of them having a rally. I personally believe it would be more productive if the organizer would sit down with me and discuss the issues at hand rather than rally at an elementary school that is in session."

Manno said the organizer "indicated that they planned to move ahead with the rally."

"I'm going to be sending out a message to all of our families. We certainly don't want our families to be alarmed," Manno said. "I'll be assuring our families that our students and staff will be safe. Participants in the rally will not be permitted on school property."

He said he had been in communication with Corter.

"(Corter) has assured me they will have sufficient officers present," Manno said. "I've also assigned additional administrators to the Young school for the day. I want parents to be assured that it's safe to send their children to school."

The calendar page on the 9/12 Project Burlington County Group's Web site announces the protest for 9:30 a.m. As of Thursday afternoon there were three sign-ups for the protest.

The controversy stems from a video clip posted on YouTube that recently garnered national media attention. The clip depicts students at the Young school singing a song about Obama.

School officials said an associate of a children's book author who visited the school in March recorded the video, which has been the subject of national news reports and criticized by some political pundits and parents as indoctrinating children to support the president and his policies.

School officials said the song was performed in honor of Black History Month during assemblies on Feb. 26 and 27 along with skits celebrating Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras and Dental Health Month.

I shall be there Monday morning, with my bullhorn, circling those fools and setting this whole mess straight. A bunch of fuckin' wack jobs. :slapface:

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There is not one part of me that doesn't find the hullabaloo and screaming and ranting hilarious. I seem to recall seeing video of school kids singing to another President we've had.....and yet no one made mention of that.


Understood, I agree mostly. The thing is that it's always ridiculous when anyone, especially children, are indoctrianated with people who have authority over them for those people's own purposes, unless of course :D as sickening as it sounds that it's by a legal parental guide. What is being labelled as "education" in this scenario, quite frankly, is a veiled "Anti-Bush/anything resembling that went on before the Obama White House" statement through this particular class in those kid's school. Fine, fair game for adults, but it shouldn't be taught as curriculum(sic) for those or any childen in an American public school. I'm not a parent but I would be infuriated either way if my children we're a part of that scenario, regardless if it were conservatve or liberal based. A good parent will teach their children those things in life & if the kids stick with those parents teachings they may stick, if not well then the kid's made his/her/their own decisions by that point. Teachers of children should stick with teaching Math & Language, leave the rest to parental/home/guardian care, it's not for their hands to get political or social in such an overt way regardless of good intentions on the Teacher's part. That's what paying tuition is for.

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Don't get me wrong, I think this was pretty stupid. As was the previous instance of this I mentioned. All I'm saying is, this is not a harbinger of things to come, this doesn't mean we're headed toward communism, Obama is not Stalin.....all the shit I've read/heard since this happened.

It's silliness. Outright silliness.

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