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|NUMBER 146||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MARCH 1998|
Colorado School Board Sets Video Policy
CASTLE ROCK, CO-The Douglas County School Board has unanimously adopted a policy banning R-rated and NC-17 rated films from the District's classrooms. The previous policy allowed the showing of such films with parental permission.
Teachers will now be required to obtain the principal's permission if they want to show a PG or PG-13 rated film containing material that might be perceived as controversial.
Some teachers call the new policy "archaic." Others maintain that students "can learn about history without having to see the gore of it all through Hollywood."
The board adopted the new policy chiefly in response to misinterpretation of the old policy, which stated that certain PG-rated films could be used as curriculum aids if no other materials were available, as long as teachers obtained parental consent. Some teachers assumed R-rated films were banned, others interpreted the policy more loosely. The new film policy leaves no room for interpretation. It does allow teachers to assign films as homework, with parental approval.
The board also approved a policy to define "controversial learning resources," which includes guest speakers and special texts. The policy requires these to be "representative of the many religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contribution to our American heritage."
Student reaction to the new policies has varied. Some students are opposed, while others object to seeing the blood and hearing the profanity of most R-rated films. One student noted, "If we read that somebody was shot, we know what happened."
A case involving a film shown in a neighboring school district classroom is now pending in the Colorado Supreme Court. The school district dismissed a high school English teacher for showing a movie rated "R" for violence, nudity and language. The teacher sued to regain his job, won in the lower court, and the school district has appealed.