Those of you who happened to catch the Sept. 8 broadcast of CBS Evening News saw Forest Park’s school superintendent commenting on why the president’s address to the nation’s students was mandatory viewing. Quotes from the school chief, Lou Cavallo, were spliced between clips of students from Betsy Ross Elementary sitting in the cafeteria while Barack Obama’s face was projected onto a big screen. Also included in the story were comments from parents across the country who objected to whatever it was they found objectionable.

Focusing on the local connections here, the most striking comment we found in the broadcast came from Cavallo.

“We do not allow parents to decide what is, and what is not, to be taught on a day-to-day basis,” Cavallo told the CBS News reporter.

As it turns out, parents in Forest Park raised no protests about their kids watching the president’s speech. Not a single one. And, according to a building principal who hosted an open house just a few hours after Obama’s speech, the subject never even came up.

Thank goodness this community is a level-headed bunch. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that people in this area are pretty supportive of the new president.)

Allowing – heck, mandating – kids to pay attention to what the president has to say is a good idea. That statement is true regardless of the man’s message. Schools are a place to learn about the world and the tools we’ll need to keep it going round. The ability to talk about our differences isn’t a skill we’ve exactly mastered, so a little practice in the classroom won’t hurt.

Of course, Obama’s speech didn’t contain the brainwashing rhetoric that critics feared would be there, and was very similar to the pep talk many parents have to give to their kids once in awhile. Thank goodness this community is a level-headed bunch.