OUR OPINION: President has right to address students

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The harsh feelings vented by some parents and officials over President Obama taking time out to address students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va. Tuesday morning is, we think, way out of line.

Yes, we are a politically divided country, and yes citizens have a right to try and steer their children toward whatever political party they support.

Parents even have the right to say the president should steer clear of their children, but reasonable people will exercise that option in only the most extraordinary of circumstances.

President Obama’s speech to the kids at Wakefield this morning was not such an event.

The President of the nation speaking to school children is an event that any parent ought to consider an excellent learning experience for their child, irregardless of the president’s party.

After listening to President Obama’s heartfelt speech to the kids at Wakefield this morning, we feel confident that any students hearing his message will understand that he expects them to work hard in school.

The message was bi-partisan and non-political.

The president cited three students who chose to take responsibility for their lives under exceptional circumstances, including one who has fought brain cancer since he was 3-years-old, and who are all headed to college this fall.

The president challenged students to set goals for themselves. He told them truthfully, that being successful is hard.

We know kids today don’t get that kind of message from television where the norm seems to be riches and instant success without any work.

We don’t have a problem with the President telling students that in order to succeed they must not let their failures define them.  Or how he related how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before publication.

Don’t ever give up on yourself, the president said, because when you do you give up on your country.

Every four years the people choose a president and the country lives with that choice.

The current president chose to go to a high school and give a message to children across the nation about what is expected of them in the classroom. He is not the first president to address students and we hope he won’t be the last.

We hope the next president to do so will be able to inspire students as well as President Obama did this morning in Arlington, Va.