District 97 schools and Oak Park and River Forest High School broadcast President Barack Obama’s address to the nation’s schoolchildren on Tuesday.

OPRF, 201 N. Scoville Ave., showed the president’s address Tuesday morning in the school’s auditorium. Obama talked to grammar and high school students about working hard and setting educational goals. The text of his remarks was released Monday as promised by the White House, amid criticism from conservatives who saw it as a political intrusion into the school day.

Following the speech, classroom activities for students, available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site, were suggested but not mandatory for schools. Comments from readers on Wednesday Journal’s Web site about the speech were in support of the president’s address. The Journal did receive one e-mail over the weekend from a relative of an Oak Park student objecting to the president talking to her student.

John Hodge, principal of Irving Elementary, 1125 S. Cuyler Ave., said any parents with concerns could call or e-mail their student’s teacher, but that he hadn’t heard any complaints as of last week. Irving, he added, would provide monitored activities for those students not wanting to watch the speech or participate in activities.

Chris Jasculca, spokesperson for Dist. 97 said that each school will coordinate its own activities. OPRF spokesperson Kay Foran said the high school would not organize any activities other than the broadcast. She added that students not wanting to watch the address could go to the library or their regular lunch period. Fenwick High School teachers were also given the go-ahead to broadcast the speech in their classrooms if they chose to do so, according to Jen Butler, the school’s spokeswoman. Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest left it to the discretion of teachers, said assistant principal Tina Steketee.

Both Oak Park school districts alerted parents about the speech via e-mail.

-Terry Dean

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