Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Friday, June 07, 2013

PG-13 movies

Last week, Anna came home and told me that she had watched a movie on class at school. I asked her which one and she said, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". I hadn't seen that movie so I looked up the rating: PG-13. Anna is only 11 years old. At this point, I was frustrated. I hadn't given permission for her to watch this film and the topic is the Holocaust, which we all know is a difficult topic. I did many reports on the Holocaust in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. Not 5th grade.

I spoke with my mom, who is a 4th grade teacher, and she said that she is required to send home a list of any videos she wishes to show in her class, even the G rated ones. Then my sister, Rachel, said she had seen the movie and wishes she hadn't have seen it. She said it was depressing and not appropriate for Anna to view at her age.

At this point, I knew it was time to take action. I emailed Anna's teacher and received no response, which surprised me. So I went straight to the principal. She said that the teacher had already come in to talk with her about the situation and said she had made a mistake by not asking permission of the other children's parents to watch the movie. She also said that several of the children had said they'd already seen the movie beforehand.

The principal agreed with me that it was wrong of the teacher to have shown the movie and she assured me that it wouldn't happen again. At this point, you would think the story would end, but a few more things happened which bother me.

#1. I was the ONLY parent in the whole 5th grade to complain about Anna being shown a PG-13 movie at school.

#2. The teacher called to apologize and left a voicemail on my phone. In the voicemail, she did apologize for what had happened, but she argued the case that the PG-13 rating wasn't accurate for this movie and so it really shouldn't be an issue. So she was really apologizing, in my opinion, for my not being okay with what she did. She was telling me all sorts of reasons supporting the film being watched by the 5th graders.

#3. This really bothered me. The day after I talked with the principal, the teacher asked Anna why she had a problem with watching the movie. Anna replied that the movie was rated PG-13 and that she does not watch PG-13 movies. The teacher then tried the push the issue further, but Anna stood up for her beliefs and I was so proud of her, but outraged that a teacher would try to bend the rules in this situation and then try to convince Anna that what the teacher did was okay. Because it certainly is NOT okay.


larawolford said...

It's a hard thing for a student to be in this situation - I was in school a few time. I remember that we watched the Passion of hte Christ one year around Easter (in HS) and I left the room for those days because it was R. I understand that some films have historic merit, but it is the place of the parent to decide what is/is not appropriate at this young age.

I know in my room, I take the safe road and only show G/PG videos - and even then, I have to screen them. You never know what creeps through.... ;) Some of my students complain because they want to watch certain musicals which are fabulous in my opinion, but too old for them to be watching. The kiddos are just growing up TOO FAST...

Deena said...

The problem with this movie isn't the typical sex and profanity issues. It's the violence and situations that are entirely too intense for kids. I don't know how to imbed this link, so you'll need to copy and paste it.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are just people and in Ohio most all of them are not members of the Church so don't understand things like we do. This is an opportunity to discuss our standards and why we have them. They are making their decisions as they have learned which most often is, "I want to do this so I will find a reason why it's a good idea." Next year send in a note with Anna explaining why she is only allowed to watch movies, any movie, if you have given your written permission. This will also spur the teacher to send a note home for the sake of the other students. As to you being the only is quite possible it wasn't even mentioned in the other homes so the parents didn't know.
Remember public school is an institution so things are done as a group consideration, not the best scenario but that is the reality.

CrossRiver Media said...

Ugh! I so get your frustration!!! We had the same thing happen with Anya. In fifth grade, last year, when Anya was 11, they watched the boat going down portion of Titanic. Thankfully, it wasn't the whole movie...however the portion they saw did include people jumping off the ship, drowning, getting shot, etc. We had no prior notification...and Kedzie came home upset about it. I emailed the teacher and the principal (who both share my faith) and they apologized, but I don't think they truly understood how upsetting this was for our child who had, until that point, never seen a movie with a rating over PG. Since then, I have taken the approach of talking to all the teachers on the first day of school about our family's movie choices and request (firmly) that if a movie be shown in class, that we be notified ahead of time. Thankfully, we haven't had an ounce of problem since.

Last Mom said...

I think I am much more lax than you on a lot of things (for example, I do allow many PG13 movies and even some R), but I still don't think they should be shown in school - especially without parental consent. My daughter's band class was watching "Hunger Games" this week. Sixth grade, so mostly 11 and 12-year-olds. PG-13 movie. My girl can't do scary stuff. She called me from school in a panic. She also saw the movie you're talking about in school and had bad dreams.

Lauren said...

I disagree with Anonymous. Being 11 and you not wanting her to watch PG-13 movies has nothing to do with our religion. There is a parental guide rating system for a reason, movies are not rated by the First Presidency, but by other moms and dads. Are they going to show Glory to learn about the Civil War, because the meaning behind it is really educational? I don't let my kids watch SpongeBob, it's a cartoon, but it has no place in my home and in my kids' minds! Way to go in teaching your kids what is appropriate for their maturity and age!

Anonymous said...

I agree that it was inappropriate for the school to show your 11 yr old a PG-13 movie without express parental permission.

However, I should probably mention that I went through a huge Stephen King phase in second grade, loved "Pet Sematary" and spent weeks begging my then-foster parents (now adoptive parents) to sneak me in to see the movie adaptation. My fdad/adad eventually agreed (on the theory that a kid that enjoyed 400+ pages of gore is unlikely to be harmed by a 90-min adaptation of said gore) and I survived pretty much unscathed :-)