This morning, the Upper School student body learned that they will be able to watch as Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
The inauguration, set to begin at 11:30 A.M. on Friday, occurs during the school day and coincides with the monthly Meeting for Worship for Business. During today’s Meeting for Worship announcements, Upper School Director Justin Brandon informed the student body that, after much deliberation over how to handle the simultaneous events, a compromise has been reached: students will be given the option to either attend Meeting for Worship for Business, or to watch the inauguration. Since the inauguration also coincides with a special middle school assembly, individual classrooms will be used to stream the event.
Brandon, reached by email, said that a television network has not been selected for the stream, but the quality of the feed may drive the decision. “I will leave the decision to the faculty member in the room,” Brandon explained.
Recently, the President-elect called the media “dishonest” and singled out CNN for being “fake news” as well as NBC for being “biased” and having “little credibility.” Both will offer a livestream.
Students are being asked to sign up on a Google form, which can be found here.
Brandon asked students to only sign up for the viewing if their intent is to view the ceremony respectfully, explaining that it will not be a space for debate.
“I want our community to continue the progress we have made since November. It is important that we give the inauguration the respect it deserves as part of American culture and history,” said Brandon.
After Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, he will give the traditional first address speech; Inauguration addresses in recent history have lasted about about 20 to 25 minutes. Asked about whether students will be excused from class if the speech runs into the next period, Brandon commented, “We will try to exercise some flexibility, but we must also respect the last day of the marking period, which may include presentations and assessments.” He added that because the classrooms are shared with other divisions, the students may have to go to class at the end of the period; however, students can continue watching on their own devices if they choose during their lunch period.