When my Grandma was alive she'd get mad at my loud criticism of the president in office at the time. She was as apolitical as they come but she'd always say, "Joe, you need to respect the office of the president, even if you disagree with him."

I thought the controversy surrounding a speech by the President of the United States (POTUS) was just that - a tempest in a teapot by a lunatic fringe fearing socialistic brainwashing by Obama. Then I received a notice by our school district that reads, "A few parents have expressed concern about their child viewing the President's address. Parents/guardians who do not wish their child to view the broadcast should send in a note with their student on Tuesday. Alternate activities and assignments will be provided for those students. " Like what? Watching Fox "News"?

It is a sad commentary on the state of public discourse if parents preclude their children from listening to the POTUS. We need our children to become more engaged in their community and understand the real controversies of our day. They need to learn how to constructively influence the political process where they can. The first step in that process is learning how to listen and learning how to think. Perhaps even learning the difference between the office and the officeholder and a real versus a contrived controversy. Our children need to learn about the "Big Lie" rhetorical tool that is used often through the internet and political commentators across the political spectrum to frighten people. The email from our schools states, "Students will not be asked to sign any sort of "pledge"related to Mr. Obama's speech." So apparently, the "Big Lie" is working.

Our schools do not have teach civic responsibility for fear of this kind of backlash.

My grandma was right and she'd be very unhappy observing this sad state of affairs.