Controversial Topics/Showing Movies

Discussion in 'High School' started by KinderWonder, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. KinderWonder

    KinderWonder Rookie

    Oct 30, 2009
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    Nov 15, 2010

    This is sort of a combined question.

    I am currently taking a class called "Intro to Diversity" where we are taught that we as future teachers are required to teach about different people, races, religions, sexualities, etc. In my high school we were taught plenty about other people, races, and religions, but not once were we ever introduced to anything that dealt with sexuality. I had two "gay" (they referred to themselves that way) friends and they were teased on some occasions, but for the most part not. That had a lot to do with the fact that we were all in honors and AP courses together with the more "mature" students. After just watching the Glee episode "Never Been Kissed" I realized there are plenty of people out there that are fearful of coming out and if there was more education about it, it would be easier for them.

    I began to research for books that I might try to read and see if they would work, I found plenty, although most had numerous sex scenes (not exactly what I was going for). I finally found Brokeback Mountain. No I have not read it yet, so yes it could contain sex scenes, but all the others advertised the sex scenes on the back cover! I began to think that having a class read Brokeback Mountain (depending on how it is written) and then watch the movie, like we did all too often at my high school and write a comparative analysis of the two.

    Now, here are my questions. I seen in a post that a teacher was being sued for showing the movie Brokeback Mountain (to 8th graders), I was thinking this would be a junior/senior topic. Are there any teachers that you know of that have read Brokeback Mountain in class? Any other suggestions for literature on sexuality that would be appropriate?

    Also, when I was in high school, our teachers would hand us a form and tell us to give it to our parents. If our parents did not want us to watch the film they were to sign it and have us bring it back for an alternate assignment. If our parents were okay with us watching the movie we did not have to bring the form back. This struck me as odd the first time it happened to me in 9th grade. Of course, none of us even took the form home! Is this how it works in all high schools? I know my high school was wrong in many ways, I'll describe more at the bottom of this if you're interested in knowing, but I'll finish my questions first. If you are planning on showing a film rated PG and up do you need to have parents fill out a consent form and bring it back, or does everything just slide in high school because the students are old enough?


    This part is about my high school, only for those who are interested.

    From what I understand, all of these instances are considered wrong, if not illegal.
    -For our volleyball games, if we had a car, we had to drive ourselves to our games. If we did not have a car, we had to ride with our coaches in their personal vehicles. My parents never consented to this and were actually really angry when they found out.
    -For our volleyball banquets, we would all ride out to our coaches lake house and go tubing, jet sking, and sometimes even stay the night.
    -We were constantly shown movies that were rated over PG and our parents never had to sign a consent form.
    -We would hang out at night with some of our teachers at a local sports bar playing trivia.
    -I'm not sure how wrong this is, but my parents were upset. When you are a freshman at my high school you have to attend freshman orientation, usually with your parents. The student body puts on performances to illustrate what the clubs do and encourage you to sign up. Our cheerleaders did a pretty provocative dance to a rap song that involved many curse words. I didn't think much of it, but like I said, my parents were not happy.
    -On field trips, we would give our teacher our cell phone numbers and then agree to meet up at one particular spot at a specific time to go home. We didn't go on many field trips in high school, but most notably was Physics Day where a bunch of schools in Florida go to Busch Gardens for the day.
    -During lunch, we were allowed to stay with our teacher (I'm speaking of a specific teacher here) and we could play video games with him during our lunch period.

    I thought all this was normal, but just odd. However, I have a feeling my school was not normal. We were in North Florida (Jacksonville area). Are there any high school teachers from that area that have experience if this is the norm?

    Sorry this post was so long, I'm just really confused.

    Thanks in advance, for any and all answers! :)
  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Jun 21, 2008
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    Nov 16, 2010

    There's no way in heck my admin would approve of showing a film like Brokeback Mountain, and the P has to sign off on it before we can send out permission slips. What you read (and possibly view) in class has to align with the local curriculum, so unless you were teaching a class on LGBT literature, I don't see how it would fit.

    In my HS, we can show PG-13 films without getting permission. I agree that most of the activities that were considered normal at your school skirt propriety. I can't imagine allowing students to stay over at my house!
  4. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Oct 28, 2007
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    Nov 16, 2010

    With Brokeback Mountain, I don't think the issue is necessarily the homosexuality, but the sex scenes themselves. I wouldn't feel comfortable showing my students a movie that had graphic or blatant references to heterosexual sex scenes, either.

    On to your other questions. I'm not from Florida, but here is my take:

    - At my school, team members are able to take personal vehicles to and from games. I'm not sure whether the parent has to sign off on that or not.

    - as for your volleyball banquets, I, as a teacher, would not feel comfortable doing that, but again, if a permission form is given and signed, I don't see how it could be a problem.

    - I'll sometimes show movies rated PG-13 without a permission slip, depending on what movie it is.

    - hanging out with a teacher at a sports bar? I never did it as a student and I would never do it as a teacher.

    - the provocative dance with the curse words wouldn't fly at my school

    - As for the field trips, I think it depends on what type of trip it is. I take my grade 9s to watch law proceedings. There, they are never out of my sight. A few years back, my grade level took our students to a water park. They had free run of the place. We paged them to our meeting spot at the end of the day. When I took kids to Europe a few years back, they all had MY cell number and were told when and where to meet when we were at specific places (the Louvre for example).

    - my room is always open at lunch hour. Students can feel free to come in, do work, study, chat, whatever. I actually had a former student come in today because he had a rough morning and just wanted a quiet place to sit. Sometimes I get a lot of kids, sometimes only a few. I don't see a problem with that.
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Aug 8, 2005
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    Nov 16, 2010

    It warms my heart when I hear of high school teachers doing this. I have anywhere from 2 to 20 grade 7 and 8 students in my tiny office/resource room almost every lunch and recess. Some are working and some are just looking for a place to belong. I take some flack about it from some of the other teachers, but I love being able to provide them a safe place.

    You're treading on some shaky ground with your plans; be sure that you align everything with curriculum expectations and use your administration or department heads as sounding boards for anything that may be controversial (you want to be sure they have your back in case of any complaints). Some of the story excerpts I've read have me doubting it's appropriateness.
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Aug 10, 2010
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    Jan 30, 2011

    I'd advise you not to even consider showing that movie. I've typed a lot and deleted it all, time after time. I'll just leave it with my opinion that it is a bad idea all around.
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Jan 30, 2011

    There are free materials you can get for your classroom and school through that are appropriate and fit national curriculum standards. I would suggest you look through there stuff so that you aren't crossing any boundaries with showing students sexually explicit material. Here are some specifically for high school about homosexuality:

    Like others have said, we aren't allowed to show rated R movies at all. The only exception I've ever seen to that has been with Schindler's List but even then, permission slips were required.
  8. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

    Dec 25, 2010
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    Jan 30, 2011

    Well, first let me say that I teach at a private school that encourages students to confront all kinds of difficult subjects. No one here shies away from tough, explicit material.

    BUT, I agree that showing Brokeback Mountain is a questionable idea. First, for the sex scenes, but second for some pretty horrifying violence.

    Part of determining what to use in class is determining what goal you are trying to achieve. If you want students to think about homophobia, you might consider one of the documentaries relating to the Matthew Sheppard murder. Or the recent film "Bullied," in which one of the major issues was anti-gay bias among students.

    I teach American history, so there are many, many delicate issues to be addressed. One of the ways I do that is to keep everything factual and discursive.

    As for your high school - it doesn't seem strange to me. I went to a magnet boarding school in the middle of nowhere. Nothing - bar nothing - that normal schools do corresponded to my experience. So you drove your car to play volleyball? Ok! Movies without permission slips? Sure! I guess I have no idea what's "normal" in terms of school rules.

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