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Speech can air, though not live
Lunch address not schedule friendly
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County school system is letting teachers decide if and when students will watch a presidential speech this week, though they won't view it live.

President Barack Obama is expected to address students nationwide at noon Tuesday.

According to information on the White House’s Web site, the purpose is to talk directly to children about “the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.”

Forsyth County Schools Spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said the message will air at a time that logistically doesn’t work for the district since it conflicts with lunch cycles.

“Our cafeteria and gyms do not have interactive whiteboards," she said. "They do not have the ability to broadcast that. And we thought about if there are tests planned it would disrupt the instruction teachers already had planned for the day."

The message is being touted as a back-to-school event. Forsyth County went back to school four weeks ago. To that end, Caracciolo said, teachers likely would not have enough time to change their lesson plans to allow for the address.

Caracciolo said teachers will preview the video and choose to show it based on whether it fits into the curriculum.

“They will notify parents if they’re going to show it and the parents will have the opportunity to tell teachers if they want their child to see it or if they don’t,” she said.

Caracciolo said the district has received about 10 e-mails a day on the topic last week, with the senders evenly divided over it.

“The majority of the systems that we’ve talked to in metro Atlanta and across the state say that they’re making sure the video is tied back to instruction,” she said.

She said the district found out about the speech Tuesday from parents and didn’t receive information from the state until Thursday.

A statement on the Georgia Department of Education’s Web site encourages schools to ensure the video ties in with standards being taught and to give students who don’t wish to watch permission to opt out.