Michelle Obama’s Kansas Graduation Speech Stirs Debate

Some critics worry that her presence could overshadow the students’ big day.

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Days after drawing heavy criticism from Peta over the use of real eggs for the White House Easter egg roll, Michelle Obama is now under fire for a proposed graduation address in Topeka, Kan., the Associated Press reports.

Some parents and students are in an uproar over the first lady’s plan to address a combined graduation ceremony for five area high schools next month at an 8,000-seat arena, the AP says. Protesters say the move could limit the number of available streets or tickets allotted to graduates.

Others, however, expressed concern that her talk, tied to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawing segregation in schools, could overshadow the student's big day, the report says.

"I'm a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself," said Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight, the AP reports. "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."

Hernandez was among several parents and students who spoke Thursday at a school board meeting and pushed district officials to rethink a decision to invite Obama, the report says. Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka school district, told the AP Friday that discussions were under way to work out the logistics and planning for the event, including how many tickets each family would be allotted.

Read more at Politico.