Parents, Students Don’t Want Michelle To Speak At Graduation!

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Parents and teachers at Topeka-area high schools are protesting the local school board’s decision to invite Michelle Obama to speak at their graduation.

More than 1,200 parents signed an online petition expressing concern that Obama’s visit would limit seating options for family and friends. But that’s not the only concern.

The First Lady – not particularly popular among schoolchildren lately was planning on speaking at the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation in schools. The Brown site is just a few blocks from the graduation venue. Parents don’t want the ceremony to be about Michelle, or the Brown decision or about politics, but about their kids.

“I’m a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself,” Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight told the New York Post. “I’ve told him education is the only way out. This is one of the biggest days of their lives. They’ve taken the glory and shine from the children and put on Mrs. Obama. She doesn’t know our kids.”

At a school board meeting Thursday, Hernandez was one of many parents and students who spoke, asking district officials to reconsider the decision to invite Obama.

Student Taylor Gifford, 18, started the online petition. She said she was initially excited about the First Lady’s attendance, but then had second thoughts.

“People think it’s a great opportunity, but it’s the graduates’ time. They are getting that diploma that they worked so hard for,” Gifford said. “Families are feeling that they are being cheated out of the loved ones special day.”

Abbey Rubottom, 18, a Topeka High senior, described herself as a “die-hard Democrat” but doesn’t like the idea of Obama sharing the stage with graduates.

“No disrespect for the first lady, and it’s amazing that she wants to come speak, I just think it doesn’t belong at graduation,” she said.




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