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New Jersey School District Is No Stranger to National Spotlight

The Burlington Township School District in New Jersey is no stranger to political controversy.

The district, which is being criticized for a video that shows elementary school students singing President Obama's praises, drew howls in March 2007 when it hosted an "emergency management exercise" at Burlington Township High School.

The purpose of the mock terror drill, according to a statement released by township officials, was to "evaluate the response and mitigation procedures" of police, fire and emergency medical services. But conservatives were incensed that the district invented a fictional right-wing fundamentalist group it called the "New Crusaders" for the exercise.

Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and other bloggers criticized emergency management officials at the time for allegedly singling out right-wing Christian fundamentalists.

Township officials later apologized for any "insensitivities" raised.

"The scenario chosen was intended to be generic in nature and never to offend any group, affiliation or religious belief," township officials said in a written statement. "The term 'Christian' was not included in the scenario. It was believed that all groups pray, and prayer in school is a universal issue. Similarly it is further believed that all groups experience right-wing fundamentalists in their organizations."

The statement continued, "The bottom line was the protection of human life should a significant event unfold. That goal was met."

Several calls to District Superintendent Christopher Manno and to Liz Scott, a spokeswoman for the district, were not returned Friday.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Education, Lucille Davy, ordered a review on Friday after the video of the children praising Obama was posted on YouTube and drew media attention.

In a statement to FOXNews.com, Education Department spokeswoman Beth Auerswald said Davy has directed the school's superintendent to review the matter. Auerswald said Davy wants to ensure that students can celebrate Black History Month without "inappropriate partisan politics in the classroom."

"In addition, it is our understanding the teacher in question retired at the end of the last school year," the statement continued.

Auerswald declined to indicate exactly what the review would entail or possible ramifications. As critics of the video claimed it amounted to "indoctrination," the tension at B. Bernice Young Elementary School escalated to such a degree that the school was placed temporarily on lockdown after its principal received death threats.

The video of the students at the Burlington, N.J., school shows them singing songs seemingly overflowing with campaign slogans and praise for "Barack Hussein Obama," repeatedly chanting the president's name and celebrating his accomplishments, including his "great plans" to "make this country's economy No. 1 again."

One song that the children were taught quotes directly from the spiritual "Jesus Loves the Little Children," though Jesus' name is replaced with Obama's: "He said red, yellow, black or white/All are equal in his sight. Barack Hussein Obama."