R-rated films in class draw ire from parents

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Movies can be useful tools in the classroom, but parents in a Bucks County school district have a problem with the kind of movies their kids are seeing.

Diana Nolan of New Hope says she was horrified when she found out that her daughter watched a screening of a very sexually explicit and violent movie called "Kids" as part of her 12th grade sexuality class.

But Diana says "Kids" is just one of approximately five dozen movies on Council Rock's approved "student movie" list that can include subject matter like "drugs, copulation, incest, rape, cruelty to animals."

That's why Nolan, along with several other Council Rock parents, are on a mission.

"We feel they could find other movies that are appropriate for our children. I'm not sure why they're viewing these movies. [The district] is not following their own protocol," she said.

Nolan is referring to the district's own administrative regulations which state, in part, "As a general rule, R-rated movies may not be shown to students. However, limited exceptions to this may be granted if it is determined that an R-rated film is critically acclaimed and directly relevant to the planned course."

Council Rock Superintendent Mark Klein says it's important to mention that most of the movies on the R-rated list include classics like "Saving Private Ryan," "Glory" and "Schindler''s List."

"Not all of them are show in their entirety. In fact, most of them are show as clips. For instance, "Saving Private Ryan" shows that beach scene on Normandy which we show to kids when we're teaching about World War II," Klein said.

The list also includes movies like "Garden State," "Glengarry Glenross," and Michael Radford's more explicit version of "The Merchant Of Venice."

Some students from Council Rock High School North say this is much ado about nothing.

"You sign a permission slip and it's simple process. I don't think it's a problem. If a parent has a problem with it they sit down and do a different assignment," said A.J. Garboski.

Nolan says she did sign a permission slip to allow her daughter to take the sexuality class, but did not approve her viewing of the movie "Kids."

Several school districts allow R-rated movies in the classroom under certain circumstances while others have banned them altogether including Pennsbury, Quakertown and Pennridge.

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