A group called "The Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children" is speaking out about the school system's decision to not air President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday.
Rev. Ozie Lee Hall Jr. is the president of coalition.
"I vigorously condemn Pitt County Schools decision to not air President Barack Obama's speech to the nations students scheduled of September 8, 2009," Hall said. "The excuses given by the District are window dressing. Pitt County Schools has once again bowed to pressure from the baser elements in our society who have no respect for our Commander-In-Chief because of his race. This is in spite of the fact that the Presidents' speech may have a very strong positive impact on the vast majority of Pitt County students."
"President Obama having been involved in education for many years is acutely aware of our nations' declining position in the global community that has resulted from the failure of our public schools to successfully educate all its students," Hall said. "The President is also aware of the implications of school failure for our national security. The Presidents' speaking directly to students to motivate them to high academic achievement is a good strategy that serves the national interest."
The coalition says 52% of Pitt County's school population is black, and "public data from Pitt County Schools illustrate the need for Pitt County Schools to take advantage of a positive message from the popular first Black American elected President of the United States."
The coalition also says: "Failure to air the speech on the day its is given sends the message to Black students and the Black community in general that Pitt County School officials lack a basic respect, understanding and cultural sensitivity to the needs of Black students. President Obama is the first Black American elected to the Office of the President of the United States. Pitt County Schools is saying it cannot trust what the President may say so it wants to censor the President by previewing what he says. This is the highest level of disrespect for the Black community to a Black man that has achieved the highest office in the land. Pitt County Schools decision does irreparable harm to Black students and race relations in Pitt County. This is not a rated video created by artist, this is an official speech by the President."
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