ARLINGTON, Texas — Arlington Superintendent Jerry McCullough issued a statement Friday apologizing for how the district handled President Obama's live speech on Tuesday.
The decision not to show the speech live to school children became particularly controversial after it became known that the district had previous plans to bus about 500 fifth-graders to attend an event with former President George W. Bush. The event, which is scheduled later this month at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, will be an announcement about a volunteer initiative for the 2011 Super Bowl.
"In retrospect, I can see how the district's decisions concerning these two events could be seen as favoring one event over another," McCullough said in his written statement. He later said, "I apologize that my decisions on behalf of the district have disappointed or hurt people."
The district allowed students to miss half a day of school on Tuesday if they wanted to watch the event live elsewhere and recorded the speech for later use. McCullough noted that he is encouraging teachers to use Obama's speech in their classrooms when and how they deem appropriate.
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Obama's speech caused controversy when some parents and political pundits were upset and worried that Obama would push his agenda onto America's youth. Some other Texas school districts, including Aledo, Grapevine-Colleyville and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, also decided not to show the speech live.
Arlington officials had said they opted not to show the speech live so as not to interrupt the planned school day. An Arlington church showed the event live and drew about 100 parents and students.