SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – When Donald Trump takes the office of president next week, students in appropriate classes will be tuning in to see the historic event despite the misgivings of some teachers and parents.
“As far as I’m concerned, it is a historic moment,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney said Thursday. “We are going to do what we have always done for every other inauguration. We are going to be consistent. Where (it is part of the curriculum like social studies or current events), feel free to show it.”
With nerves, still raw following the Republican billionaire businessman’s upset of Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton, and from the vitriolic rhetoric of the campaign still fresh in the minds of many people, some teachers and parents discussed if having students tune in during school was appropriate.
In posts on one of the South Brunswick social media pages associated with the school district this week, educators and parents talked about how the district should handle this event as some are concerned about what Trump might say during his speech in the context of how he handled the campaign.
During the contentious race, Trump said that some of the illegal immigrants coming into the country from Mexico were rapists and murderers.
He also called for a ban on Muslims entering the country from nations with ties to terrorism after deadly attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida.
Trump was also castigated for allegedly mocking a disabled reporter and for a taped conversation on a bus some years ago, where he made lewd comments about women.
Educators in the conversation said that using the event for students and the discussions after would not be about those issues, but rather the event itself and the process the country uses to transfer power peaceably.
Dr. McCartney said, however, that parents that do not wish for their children to participate in those classes should let the district know so that they can be accommodated.
“If a parent wants their kid not to participate, we will honor that,” he said. “The parent needs to let us know and we will honor that. We won’t force someone who doesn’t want their kid to see that to see it.”
He said that some teachers will be showing the event to use it, but others, like science and math, “will be teaching PARCC.”
“We are an educational institution, and in as much, we’re trying to teach kids not only content, but about life,” he said. “Part of life is understanding government.”
Donald Trump is scheduled to take the oath of office at noon on Jan. 20.
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