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Our View: Video: mistake, apology, move on

opinion River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.hudsonstarobserver.com/sites/all/themes/hudsonstarobserver_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Our View: Video: mistake, apology, move on
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

A mistake was made at the middle school last week with the showing of a politically-slanted video (Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s I Pledge Video) to all students during “Peace One Day.”

Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten would not talk about who authorized the video, but said the district made a mistake. In fact, she said “we are accepting responsibility and taking this very seriously.”

An apology letter was quickly posted on the school’s website, penned by middle school Principal Dan Koch.

Other media sources claim the video was essentially selected by a small group of teachers. In reality, parts of the video had a good message. The intentions were probably well-meaning.

We’re not interested in reprimanding anyone, but school officials and teachers must use better judgment in these sorts of situations. In this case the video had a pro-Democrat (liberal) slant — some of the art was from the 2008 Barack Obama campaign — Oprah Winfrey had role in its production. Rest assured, however, we’d say the same thing if a video carried a conservative slant.

Let’s be honest, most people believe the majority of teachers are of a Democratic slant and by showing this sort of video — true or not — it reinforces those beliefs.

Are students really swayed by Anthony Kiedis (singer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) saying “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama?” As he said “Barack” he kissed his bicep and as he said “Obama” he kissed his other bicep? Or are they impressed that Demi Moore said she “pledged to be a ‘servant’ to our president?” We all know words carry power, but we may never know for sure if the message makes a big impact on middle school students.

Students, however, should know that schools must emit a non-partisan atmosphere. They should know the line was crossed in this case.

To the school’s credit they quickly apologized and have taken the necessary steps to rectify the situation — they plan to review their policies and procedures. In the end, students may learn a valuable message about politics, schools and government.

Principal Dan Koch’s apology letter summed it up: “The video conveyed a message that people serve the presidency when in fact our elected officials serve the people.”

Well said — now it’s time to move on.

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