Editorial: CCSD media policy needs further discussion
CCSD Policy 6150 states that PG-13 or R rated films cannot be used in the classroom.
Sometimes learning requires more than the usual bookwork to fully understand a concept. Students like to watch movies because it brings the curriculum to life. Teachers like to tie in these movies to compliment a lesson, as a visual asset. However, this is often difficult due to the current film and media rules.
CCSD Regulation 6150 states “Any portion of electronic media in any format that is rated ‘R’ or “PG-13” shall not be shown to students at any grade level within the school district under any circumstances. Motion pictures rated PG may be shown to students in grades 7-12, but only after securing written parental permission.”
As high school students, some curriculum may benefit from an example from the media in order for students to understand the reality of several concepts. For example, some teenagers, especially those who learn visually, could better understand the concept of the Holocaust and the true severity of this event if they were to watch a historical film like Schindler’s List, a film about the persecution of the Jewish population by Nazis. Even though these films might be a bit frightening, they will assist students in gaining a better perspective on past events and will provide the opportunity to remember the lesson better with a visual. Students are not asking to see a horror classic starring Freddy Krueger, but rather the permission to view movies acceptable and related to their lessons of study.
Additionally, approximately half of the students in a typical high school are now old enough to buy a ticket at the movies for a PG-13 or R-rated film. Once a student arrives to high school, they meet the criteria of viewing a PG-13 film, since it states “Parental Guidance strongly suggested for anyone under the age of 13.”
If the trustees, superintendent, and state board of education would prefer their students to grow up to be mature adults, then they need to trust us in watching these films and understand the need for them. Wouldn’t they rather have a responsible educator showing clips that make educational connections, rather than students watching films containing violence or gratuitous nudity on other devices without supervision?
In fact, other districts have made progressive strides in allowing PG-13 films to be shown in the classroom. Three out of seventeen school districts in Nevada have alternative policies:
MCSD allows their students to watch G, PG, or PG-13 films as an educational asset. In case a parent has a problem with this privilege, they have the ability to preview the film, before giving consent to watch the film.
LCSD allows it’s students to watch G, PG, and PG-13 rated films under a couple of conditions. For PG rated movies, parents must be informed, whereas PG-13 rated films require a parent’s signature to confirm they allowed their child to watch a specific film.
The CCSD Board of Trustees’ Student Advisory Committee is currently creating a proposal to amend the current movie policy to present to the school board. The new changes to the policy would allow for high school students to view PG-13 video clips in class with parental consent.
If we’re expected to act like adults in high school, then watching PG-13 movies every now and then as a means to extend our understanding of the course material should not be a problem. CCSD officials must realize that these films and clips are an educational asset–not a distraction.