The conservative Utah Eagle Forum and concerned parents are speaking out against an Obama-oriented video shown at Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington.
The video has the voice of President Obama asking Americans to pledge to better their lives and the world. It portrays celebrities saying they pledge to support various causes including conserving water, not using plastic bags and supporting stem cell research.
"I think it's outrageous. It's indoctrinating children in a leftist liberal political position," Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka told the Deseret News Tuesday.
The video called "I Pledge!" was shown at an assembly of about 850 children on Friday to kick off the school's annual theme of service, said Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams.
Parent Jennifer Cieslewicz, of Kaysville, who has a first-grader at Eagle Bay, told the Deseret News, "I am very upset, to say the least. Values are to be taught in the home – not the school. These kids are young and impressionable."
Cieslewicz added she feels her rights as a parent were violated. "I should have known in advance and had the opportunity to pull my child out," she said. "How can I have trust in the leadership of the school in the future?"
Eagle Bay Principal Ofelia Wade told district officials she had left it to the PTA Board to choose the video. She didn't see the clip before it was shown Friday, according to Williams.
Wade is writing an apology letter to parents which will be sent home with students Wednesday, Williams said, adding he doesn't believe any formal discipline will be taken against the principal.
"She acknowledges she made a mistake and she says she is sorry," Williams said.
Eagle Bay PTA President Jennifer Maxwell says she is shocked and surprised by people's negative reaction to the video. "I thought it was inspirational," Maxwell said. "It was intended to inspire kids to make a difference in the community. We weren't trying to be political."
Ruzicka said she has received about five phone calls or e-mails since Friday from parents complaining about the clip.
The video begins with Obama saying, "So 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."
However, Cieslewicz says she is especially offended at a part of the video where Anthony Kiedis, of the band "Red Hot Chili Peppers," says, "I pledge allegiance to the funk, to the united funk of funkadelica."
Cieslewicz says, "It is unAmerican. It is disrespectful."
The video was planned to be shown Thursday at Eagle Bay's Back to School Night. The principal has cancelled the viewing.
To view the video, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqcPA1ysSbw
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