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Obama's back-to-school speech scheduled for Sept. 14

President Barack Obama's back-to-school speech to children will be Sept. 14, White House officials said Wednesday.

Last year, the speech caused a stir, with some critics saying it amounted to propaganda.

Arlington made national news when district officials decided not to show Obama's speech live -- after they agreed to allow about 600 fifth-graders to be bused to an event that month featuring former President George W. Bush.

The district later scrapped plans for the Bush event at Cowboys Stadium, and Superintendent Jerry McCullough apologized for not showing Obama's speech live.

This year, Arlington will show it live at all schools, though logistics still need to be worked out, district spokeswoman Amy Casas said.

"We think it's an important thing to do, to show the message that the president is giving to children," Casas said. She said students can opt out if parents have concerns.

Area school officials said the time of the event will affect its availability. And some districts, including Grapevine-Colleyville, do not have the bandwidth to show it live in every classroom.

"And last year it was around the lunch hour, so there's logistic issues when that happens," said Megan Overman, spokeswoman for Grapevine-Colleyville. "We will take a look at that as a district leadership team and work with our teachers to work that out."

Last year, Grapevine-Colleyville teachers had the option of showing the speech if it fit with curriculum, and parents could ask their children to be exempted from watching it.

Fort Worth officials said it will be available at every school but perhaps not live at some, depending on the time of the speech, technology at the schools and other factors.

"If the president of the United States wants to talk to the students of the United States, then we'll make that available," spokeswoman Barbara Griffith said.

Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700

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