DeKalb schools give teachers guidelines on watching inauguration in class

DeKalb County schools,  like other metro Atlanta districts, will let teachers decide whether students in their classroom watch Donald Trump’s inauguration, and that decision could put teachers and some parents at odds.

A Michigan teacher started an uproar after announcing Wednesday that he would not be showing the inaugural address in his class, citing concern about “children being exposed to language and behavior that is not in concert with the most conservative social and family values.”

Parents responded in volume, leading Williamston Community Schools Superintendent Narda Murphy to post a letter on the district’s website. Murphy explained the district’s policy is to let teachers decide what to show their students.

DeKalb, Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton, and Atlanta school districts adhere to the same practice.

DeKalb County Schools sent each principal instructions for teachers who choose to show the inauguration, which recommended five steps: avoid interjecting your personal political beliefs, allow the students to communicate with each other, use instructional resources, ensure students communicate respectfully and connect the inaugural activities to the curriculum.

“Teachers have the flexibility to show current events to students as an educational exercise,” Atlanta Public Schools Executive Director of Communications Pat St. Claire said in an email.

Gwinnett and Fulton offer alternative instruction for students whose parents request that their children do not watch the ceremony.

Holy Spirit Preparatory School is taking a different approach. The Atlanta Catholic school will host its high school students in its gym to watch the inauguration as a school community.

“Events like inaugurations are historically significant, and it’s important that our students are witness to historical moments, particularly in an academic environment where they are able to process and inquire about the events with thoughtful adults who care about students and their formation,” Director of Marketing and Communications Timothy Durski said in an email.

Joyce Brewer, the Emmy award-winning creator of Mommy Talk Show and self-described “Atlanta mom blogger,” told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she does not want the inauguration shown to her six-year-old son.

“I don't think that teachers or schools should insert themselves into the situation by broadcasting this inauguration,” Brewer said. “I think that it is up to parents to make that decision…”