Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Obama Song Videotaped Without Authorization, N.J. School Official Says

"A song about President Obama that was performed by a group of young New Jersey students and has led to charges of indoctrination was videotaped and posted on the Internet without authorization, a district official told parents.

The performance and the videotaping at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, N.J., have sparked a review by school officials, according to a letter to parents from Christopher Manno, Burlington Township's superintendent of schools.

"We are carefully evaluating what occurred and will implement any additional needed procedures to prevent children's images in school from being publicly posted without permission," Manno wrote on Friday. "We will also provide reasonable direction and guidelines so that classroom activities will not give the appearance of promoting a particular political perspective."

Manno said the Obama song was originally part of an eight-skit assembly program performed on Feb. 27 that marked Black History Month, as well as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays, Groundhog Day, the Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and Dental Health Month.

"We have been informed that the lyrics of the song were sent home with the children in advance of the assembly, which was the teacher's normal procedure," Manno wrote in his letter. "There were no concerns or complaints to, during, or after the program."

The performance was reprised and videotaped on March 23 when an author who had written a book about Obama visited the school as part of its Women's History Month program, Manno said.

"We were informed by a representative of the author that one of the individuals who accompanied the author video recorded the performance," Manno wrote. "School staff had no knowledge of the recording."

Manno declined to identify the author; conservative blogger Michelle Malkin has said the video -- titled "School Kids Taught To Praise Obama" -- was listed to a YouTube account belonging to author Charisse Carney-Nunes.

Carney-Nunes' did not return numerous calls and e-mails from requesting comment.

Manno, who has not returned several messages, said the video was posted on the author's Web site "without district approval or knowledge," adding that a third party apparently copied the video from the author's Web site and posted it on YouTube."

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