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Meeting to Be Held on Obama School Song

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Fox News: The mother of a second-grader says she hopes to get some answers Wednesday night as to why her daughter was videotaped with the rest of her class singing the praises of President Obama at a New Jersey elementary school last spring.

kids singing at school

Andrea Ciemnolonski, of Burlington, N.J., said she'll attend a 6 p.m. "work session" held by the Burlington Township Board of Education, which she hopes will assuage her concerns regarding security at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School.

"I still have questions," Ciemnolonski told Foxnews.com. "Mostly I just want to see what the school is going to do to improve security at the school. Clearly, if the children were videotaped, there's something wrong. They should not have been -- that's not permitted."

Ciemnoloski's 8-year-old daughter was one of roughly 20 children captured on a YouTube video singing songs overflowing with campaign slogans and praise for "Barack Hussein Obama," repeatedly chanting the president's name and celebrating his accomplishments, including his "great plans" to "make this country's economy No. 1 again." Critics of the videotape have complained that the performance was tantamount to indoctrination of young children.

The song was first performed as part of a Black History Month program in February and was reprised and videotaped without consent on March 23, when author Charisse Carney-Nunes visited the school in recognition of Women's History Month.

In a statement released Monday, the Burlington Township School District said parents had received prior notice of Carney-Nunes' visit and that one of her guests videotaped the performance "without knowledge or permission" of staff members. The district and the school have not replied to multiple requests for details of the notices sent to parents in advance of the performance.

District officials also dismissed allegations of indoctrination, saying there was nothing "systematic" about the classroom activity.

"After an investigation of this event, we found that no form of indoctrination took place, and there was no intent for indoctrination," the statement read. "There was no intention to make any political statement or promote a political agenda at all."

The statement continued, "We determined that there no was no malicious intent or behavior on anyone's part regarding this song."

Despite those claims, a crowd of approximately 75 people protested outside the school on Monday, chanting slogans like "No politics in the classroom" and "Reassign the principal."

Gina Pronchick, whose 8-year-old son Jimmy was also in the controversial video, claims school officials attempted to push their political views on the students. Her husband, Jim, said the investigation into the video has been far from thorough.

"There are really no findings here," he said in reference to Monday's statement. "The investigation hasn't produced anything."

To rectify the matter, Pronchick said he would like to see Principal Denise King reassigned and District Superintendent Christopher Manno reprimanded for the "one-sided" investigation. He also disputed the district's claims that notices of Carney-Nunes' visit, including lyrics of the controversial song, were sent home prior to the event.

"We never got the lyrics," he said. "Absolutely not."

Pronchick said his wife will attend Monday's meeting but hopes for answers are bleak.

"We're not expecting a lot," he said.

Multiple calls to Manno and King were not returned.

Liz Scott, a spokeswoman for the school district, confirmed that the work session will focus on the "issue" of the videotape.

"It will be on the agenda," she told Foxnews.com Monday. "We're ready for our public."

Scott said no protests are planned for the event to her knowledge and that it was unclear how many people would attend. She also said the district would be unavailable to produce copies of the notices purportedly sent out in advance of the March event.

The commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Education ordered a review on Sept. 24 following the posting of the video. In a statement to Foxnews.com, Education Department spokeswoman Beth Auerswald said Commissioner Lucille Davy directed Manno to review the matter. Auerswald said Davy wants to ensure that students can celebrate Black History Month without "inappropriate partisan politics in the classroom."

"In addition, it is our understanding the teacher in question retired at the end of the last school year," the statement continued.

Auerswald declined to indicate exactly what the review would entail, or its possible ramifications.

Ciemnoloski, meanwhile, said she doesn't think school officials intended to indoctrinate students with the song, but she added that's not the issue she is most concerned about.

"Someone wasn't paying attention to this author and her entourage, as it were," she said. "Someone needs to be keeping a closer eye on visitors in the school."

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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pamala October 14, 2009, 5:48 PM

All these people need to get a life. They had no problem with it when it was done but then it comes out on YouTube (which does need investigation in itself) and suddenly you weren’t for it. I call BS. They saw the performance and didn’t care then, why do they care now? And how proper that people ignore the songs for GWB as well. I guess it’s easy to ignore those things when you hate someone so much you’ll use anything to try to bring him down.

Melissa October 14, 2009, 8:55 PM

I think these parents are either conservative or racist or both and didn’t want their kids saying (or singing) anything good about Obama! People who are strong advocates for “privacy laws” usually have something to hide!

ijat October 14, 2009, 9:24 PM

Its amazing how none of these parents said anything when Bush was videotaped reading to a whole classroom of children. Is that not also indoctrination??? And all this while the country was burning. No one asked what he was reading (or attempting to read) LOL.
Racists are abound. Wake up and leave amerikkka.

Gina October 14, 2009, 9:27 PM

You are both quiet wrong.
If there had been a notice sent to parents the school could have produced it. I do not want my child singing the praises of any MAN/Woman. You seem to believe there were praise songs for President Bush, produce the video or reserve you comment.
So now if you disagree with an action taken at school you are a racist? That is a weak and uneducated statement.
Get over your crush on Obama, and see this for what it was….WRONG, IN ANY CONTEXT.

GINA  October 14, 2009, 9:29 PM

Yes they are ijat, you are living proof of that.

Ryan October 14, 2009, 9:47 PM

And there it is…it took exactly two posts to claim that if you disagree with praising Obama then you are a racist. That might be a new record.

A Z October 14, 2009, 10:44 PM

The main issue here should be the security of these minors could be at risk. For instance if there was an absent parent that did not know the school where the child attended this tape made it public. There are some parents that kidnap kids from the custodial parent after they find them.

james October 14, 2009, 11:03 PM

Indoctrination!!! When I stated school in the 70’s, after the morning anouncements, we would say the Pledge of Allegence and sing America(My Country, ‘Tis of Thee). Now THAT is indoctrination.

Anonymous October 14, 2009, 11:50 PM

If my child can not sing a song of praise for the lord Jesus Christ because people say it’s forcing religion on children,then I do not want my child praising Obama in school because I believe that is forcing political views on them that they don’t even understand yet!
Geez,kids can’t even have a Christmas program at most schools anymore,but it’s ok to worship the president because he’s the first african american in office? Not acceptable.

chris October 15, 2009, 3:47 AM

The main point of this is that the school was completely wrong for trying to shove their political views down the throats of little children. If this happened in my children school, I would have thrown a fit!!! And seriously, the whole “your a racist” if you don’t like Obama is getting really old. I don’t care what color that man is, I don’t like his policies or his agenda.

Anonymous October 15, 2009, 6:51 AM

What songs are there about GWB?

steven November 14, 2009, 1:10 PM

Given the length of the song and the age of the children, this would have taken at the very least several days of practice. All it would have taken is ONE parent asking their child what they are doing at school to figure out what is happening. If parents want to have more say in what their children are learning and doing they should take a more proactive approach rather than waiting two seasons until they hear about it on the news/internet.

dzent1 November 14, 2009, 1:17 PM

This is just more ginned-up Republican bad-mouthing because they can’t stand being booted out of power and losing to a BLACK man. But people have long memories about the absolute disasters visited on the American citizen by the last decade of GOP malfeasance and most people see this ridiculous attempt to smear the current president for what it really is - sour grapes of the most bitter kind. The disgusting phony outrage doesn’t fool anyone with a brain or a memory.

dzent1 November 14, 2009, 1:18 PM

This is just more ginned-up Republican bad-mouthing because they can’t stand being booted out of power and losing to a BLACK man. But people have long memories about the absolute disasters visited on the American citizen by the last decade of GOP malfeasance and most people see this ridiculous attempt to smear the current president for what it really is - sour grapes of the most bitter kind. The disgusting phony outrage doesn’t fool anyone with a brain or a memory.

doug November 15, 2009, 3:23 AM

Yup. The only ones obsessed with the color of a man’s skin are from the left. But I will give you one thing, dzent1. You didn’t use the non-existent term ‘african american.’ However to reflect your true persuasion you should change your name to cn4mnt.


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