Upon hearing that Disney was bringing an educational program to Ohio elementary schools, a few possibilities of what the program might look like came to mind: Princesses preaching the power of love? Talking animals touting the importance of friendship? Nope; this was three representatives from Radio Disney explaining the importance and benefits of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Last month, a program called Rocking in Ohio, which was led by three Radio Disney staffers and entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (a lobbying group paid for by oil and gas companies), performed a series of events at 26 elementary schools across the state, educating students about the process and benefits of fracking.
Radio Disney planned to bring the tour to other states if it was a success in Ohio, but swirling controversy and a strong backlash that included an 80,000-signature petition calling the project “propaganda” have led Disney to pull out of the program, including the remaining leg of the Ohio tour.
“The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids’ interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program,” Radio Disney said in a statement.
In the face of the controversy and the loss of its partnership with Disney, The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy program doesn’t seem terribly discouraged, and maintains that its tour had valid purpose.
“Our country cannot survive without oil and gas,” OOGEEP’s Ron Grosjean told the Wooster, Ohio, Daily Record. “Kids are the best way (to spread the message). They retain (the information); they remember it.”
Is it just us, or does that just sound like a much more sinister version of Whitney Houston’s famous lyric, “Children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way?”
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