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New Jersey Superintendent Defends Elementary Students' Controversial Obama Song

The superintendent of a New Jersey school system where elementary school students were videotaped singing the praises of President Obama stood behind his employees Wednesday evening, saying the principal and teacher did nothing wrong -- despite growing anger from parents.

"There was nothing systematic or indoctrinating about this innocent classroom activity," Burlington Township Superintendent of Schools Christopher Manno said during a school board meeting. "There was no intention on the part of the teacher to make any political statement or promote a political agenda."

Manno specifically defended the school's principal and the teacher who led the activity.

Roughly 20 children can be seen on a video posted to YouTube singing songs overflowing with words suitable for 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."

Critics of the video have complained that the performance was tantamount to indoctrination of young children, though some parents agree with Manno that it was part of an innocent activity.

The song was first performed as part of a Black History Month program in February and was reprised -- and recorded on video without consent -- on March 23, when author Charisse Carney-Nunes visited the school in recognition of Women's History Month.

Manno said Carney-Nues believes her sister videotaped the performance and then put it on the author's Web site. He said the district is working with YouTube to remove the video.

A majority of those people who spoke at the meeting showed support for the school, but several others were still upset by the subject matter. 

"The song was far from innocent and politics, like religion should be kept at home," Leslie Gibson said. 

The commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Education ordered a review on Sept. 24 following the posting of the video. In a statement to Foxnews.com, Education Department spokeswoman Beth Auerswald said Commissioner Lucille Davy directed Manno 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 its possible ramifications.

  

Fox New Channel's Christopher Laible and Foxnews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.