It appears that the president is tapping into the power of youth to try to try to win the “battleground” state of Florida. According to Todd Starnes of Fox News, teachers with an after-school program called PLACE at Seven Oaks Elementary School in Pasco County, Florida, recently had students write letters to President Obama, asking him for advice on a political topic. “My daughter told me that the PLACE teachers made all of the children write a letter to Barack Obama,” an unidentified parent told Starnes in an e-mail. “My daughter told them that she did not want to write a letter to Barack Obama but she would like to write a letter to Mitt Romney instead.” According to the parent, the teachers told his child that she could not write to Romney. “The PLACE teachers told her that they were sorry but everyone was to write a letter to Barack Obama,” the parent told Starnes.
Victoria Baldree, whose daughter, Blair, attends the after-school PLACE program, confirmed the story, telling Fox News that staff “handed the students letters they wanted the kids to write to the president. When Blair told them she didn’t want to write to President Obama — that she would rather write a letter to Mitt Romney — they told her no. She had to write the letter to President Obama.” The mother added that her daughter “did write a letter because she’s not going to disobey an adult.”
Baldree told Fox that she was angry about the incident, saying that “I think they are using the children to get to the parents. Why are they teaching kindergartners politics? I don’t understand that.”
The Pasco County School district has been in the news over the past two weeks over similar incidents involving Obama campaign workers having free access to the schools. The Pasco Tribune reported that the Republican Party filed a complaint with the State Attorney's office, alleging that volunteers with Organizing for America, a group connected to the Obama campaign, had claimed to be with the Pasco Supervisor of Elections Office in order to gain access to speak to students. “It's quite obvious that some people got in there under false pretenses,” said Jim Mathieu, general counsel for the Pasco Republican Executive Committee.
According to the Pasco Tribune, Sandy Mullins, a retired teacher with the district as well as a volunteer with the Democratic Party's Organizing for America, gave a pro-Obama speech to students at the district's Gulf High School on September 12. “School officials said they hadn't counted on the partisan pitch during what they thought would be an effort to encourage students to register to vote, but an email indicates school personnel knew Mullins was with Organizing for America,” reported the Tribune. “Claudia Alwood, chairwoman of the Gulf High social studies department, wrote to an Organizing for America representative the day Mullins spoke, complaining about the speech and saying the group would not be allowed to speak again at Gulf High.”
Gulf High School later invited a member of the Pasco County Republicans to speak to students in order to provide equal time, but quickly withdrew the invitation, explaining that allowing partisan political discussion on school property violated district policy.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported that a student at Wekiva High School near Orlando, Florida, was reprimanded for asking a controversial question of a group of Obama campaign operatives who had been allowed to address his Advance Placement history class. According to the parent, Obama volunteers visited the school on multiple occasions, and students were also invited to join a group called the Obama Organizing Fellowship, which Fox described as a “12-week program connected to the Florida Democratic party.”
The father of the reprimanded student told Fox News that after the talk by the Obama volunteers, his son raised his hand and asked the volunteers: “Does the name Frank Marshall Davis mean anything to either of you?” The question apparently angered the teacher, who quickly ejected the student.
There is good reason Obama supporters don't want Davis' name mentioned with the president's. In his ghost-written memoir Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to Davis numerous times, and Dr. Paul Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College and executive director of the Center for Vision and Values, has identified this important Obama mentor as a member of the Communist Party.
“This literal communist had a significant influence on the development of the current leader of America and the free world,” Kengor told Fox News. Thus, this student asked a crucial, insightful, informed question....”
Kengor added that if there was one thing the student learned in his history class that day, it was that liberal-minded educators “preach open-mindedness, tolerance and diversity, but that’s all a giant ruse. In truth, they are only open to and tolerant of views they agree with.... The moment that a student dares to ask a challenging question that a liberal educator doesn’t like, the student is scolded and silenced.”
Photo of Barack Obama: AP Images