Parents Upset Over "Leftist Propaganda" Video

Meredith Jessup

9/2/2009 9:22:08 PM - Meredith Jessup
In doing a little research this evening about President Obama's controversial Sept. 8 address to public schools students across the nation, I came across the following story out of Utah:

A school principal has apologized for showing a video at an assembly that a politically conservative group leader is calling "radical, leftist propaganda."

Children at Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington were shown a short video called "I pledge" on Aug. 28. The video opens with an image of President Barack Obama and part of a speech in which he says, "Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other." The video then features celebrities making pledges about how they will help the president and the world -- and that's where some say the problem lies.

"Showing the video in a public school is completely inappropriate," said Jennifer Cieslewicz, whose daughter is a first-grader at the school. "I don't believe a video such as this that promotes certain values should be shown to elementary students, especially without parents being aware. "

Chris Williams, Davis School District spokesman, said school principal Ofelia Wade and school PTA leaders decided to show the video as part of an assembly about the school's theme for the year, service. He said the PTA board chose the video and Wade did not see it before it was shown in the assembly.

"It got to a point where she turned to her assistant and said, 'Oops, I wish I would have seen this before. I don't think I would have shown it,' " Williams said. He said Wade could see how some adults might find the video political. 

Gayle Ruzicka, president of conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said the video was blatantly political. She said other offensive pledges included, "I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama..."


"It's very inappropriate to show a radical, leftist propaganda piece that (sic) political to children," Ruzicka said. "If parents want their children to learn about those things and do them in the home, wonderful, fine, but it's not the place of the school to show a one-sided propaganda piece to children without parents knowing about it."

Cieslewicz said such values should be decided in the home, not at school.

"They shouldn't be troubling our youth with the woes of the world and making them feel like we're in slavery or they have to worry about how many times they flush the toilet or if they have a plastic water bottle," Cieslewicz said, referring to pledges in the video to "end slavery."