Weather Forecast


Obama speech controversy felt in lakes area

DETROIT LAKES -- The controversy surrounding President Obama's speech to students across the nation has reached local school districts around the lakes area.

Obama is scheduled to deliver the address at 11 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday.

One district, Lake Park-Audubon, will not show the speech live, while Detroit Lakes administrators will let teachers make the call. Waubun High School plans on showing the speech live to students. Frazee-Vergas administrators haven't made a decision yet.

Detroit Lakes Superintendent Doug Froke wrote in an e-mail to district principals that because the speech is taking place on the first day of school, it won't be shown live in an assembly forum, but individual teachers can choose to show it live if they wish.

"We have a lot going on," Froke said.

Teachers would also be able to decide to show the speech on a tape-delayed basis, Froke said. Parents can opt their children out of seeing the speech.

"The idea is that if a teacher wants to do it, they have the latitude to do it," Froke said.

Kevin Ricke, principal at Lake Park-Audubon High School, referred to the district's Web site for its response.

LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie wrote that Obama's speech will be taped and that if "the message stays in the spirit of its intent," faculty would be able to show the address in class as they see fit.

Parents would receive notification of those plans and have a chance to have their child opt out from viewing the speech.

Hogie wrote that "it is always appropriate to preview curriculum, movies, videos, etc. before using them for instruction."

As of now, administrators in the Frazee-Vergas district are still deciding on whether to show the speech live.

"At this time, we haven't made a decision on that," said Frazee-Vergas Superintendent Deron Stender said.

He said that the district would be looking at what other district's plans before making the call.

Stender said there has been some opposition expressed within the community to showing the address.

Personally, Stender said he doesn't have a problem with showing the speech, but he said that he has to follow the wishes of fellow administrators and the community.

"From what I've heard about the speech, I have no problem with it," Stender said.

Waubun High School Principal Helen Kennedy said that school would show the address live in the classroom. She said a lot of classrooms are equipped with projectors capable of receiving television programming.

Students in classrooms without projection equipment will move to areas of the school where they can view the speech.