Monday, October 11, 2004


Over the weekend, I learned of two lousy choices made by public-school teachers involving biased, propagandistic movies that they showed to their students. Parents are going to have to ask teachers and principals to control themselves in movie selection, or do away with in-class movies altogether, which wouldn’t be a bad move, anyway.

In Beaumont, Texas, a high-school English class watched ‘’Fahrenheit 9/11,’’ Michael Moore’s scathing and inaccurate anti-American Bushwhacking, according to a Saturday article on HoustonChronicle.com

A businessman and veteran whose son was in the class is objecting, especially since the film is R-rated, yet no parental consent was obtained for the showing. In addition, there are some kids in the class who are of voting age. That’s bad, too, the businessman was quoted as saying, since he called the film “spun’’ with a radical leftist slant and shown shortly before a national election.

The father said he went to see the film a while ago, to see if it was something he wanted his family to see, and judged it as not worth their time. So he was “livid’’ when the teacher chose to use class time to show it without his knowledge, and deny an equal rebuttal so that the other side of the story – the pro-Bush side – could get an equal footing with the kids. Biased curriculum is nothing less than censorship, after all.

That’s how I would feel, too, if I were the eastern Nebraska parents I talked to, whose daughter saw a recent version of the great American classic movie, ‘’The Scarlet Letter,’’ in school . . . but it bore no moral comparison to the real story line.

In the new movie, a romantic taint is put on the two main characters, and they ride off into the sunset together, getting away scot-free with their adultery.

In the book, you’ll recall, there were all sorts of moral complexities, and the adulterers paid for what they did very dearly.

But parents mostly have noooooo idea that the two versions are so different. When this mom and dad first learned that their child watched that movie, they thought it was a good assignment. Now that they know of the ‘’spin’’ in it, they’re livid. I think it might have been “R” rated, too. But it’ll take all kinds of work on their part to make sure the kids get the straight scoop on the moral consequences of adultery. As of now, it’s been effectively censored out of their classroom.

The damage may have already been done, too. With this generation, movies have been shown to be far more powerful than textual readings.

So which story will the students in that classroom remember, learn from, and act upon?

And will those Texas kids always mistrust President Bush and other Republicans or conservatives . . . or Christians . . . because of that nasty film? Is that fair?

Of course not. Parents and taxpayers, let your school officials know your feelings about these supplemental videos that can do so much damage. You have as much a right to inspect them in advance as you do with any textbook or learning material given to your child, and paid for at taxpayer expense. Demand advance parental notification of video presentations in the classroom -- or make educators wear a different kind of scarlet letter -- ‘’C,’’ for ‘’Censorship.’’

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