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In 2002, the French movie Amélie (also known as Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film. In Heather Salazar's classroom, though, the quirky love story was a flop. The French teacher from Orange, Texas was placed on unpaid administrative leave after showing the film to her students at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School. The movie is R-rated and reportedly contains nudity and sexual content. The district's superintendent said Salazar failed to follow official procedures for screening films with such content. Should Salazar have known better?


She should have followed school policy! If no clear policy was in place, she should have asked her principal or API first!

Absolutely. Watching a movie in class that is R-rated is a bad professional choice for two reasons. First of course, (though I really like the movie), some of the content is inappropriate and embarrassing for students to watch with educational "acquaintances" in a classroom. Also, many students may have seen the movie anyway, and thus learn nothing for several class periods, OR, others what they do a lot already outside of school--watch a screen--and thus gain minimal value from discourse and new content in a specific subject area. I've been in education all of my professional life, a teacher for lots of years, an educational consultant and professional developer, a principal and a Sr. Director. Let's choose as professionals who have increasing limits on our time with our students, to stop the rolling of hours of wasted effort and get engagement in the world of the mind and voice. Teachers and students together in our classrooms can move into challenges of exploration of the depth and breadth in subject areas with a teacher who really loves to engage students, or else students will realize they should have stayed home in their pajamas and just watched a movie.

I agree that it was a bad choice, though I like the movie too. In addition to the well-stated reasons mentioned above, there is also the simple reason that R-rated movies are not allowed for children under 17 without their parents' permission. PARENTS are given the right to take children to R-rated films, not box-office ticket sellers or anyone else, including teachers. As a teacher, I would never overstep the authority of my students' parents. As a parent who is careful about what my children see, I would be angry if a teacher believed he/she could make this decision in my place. I might not really mind them seeing this film when they are teenagers(though I would need to screen it again to make sure), but it is my wife and my decision, not their teachers.

Yes, she should have known better! Teachers should always ask permission from administration first and pre-screen the movie themselves before showing it to their students. I personally enjoyed the movie, but do feel it's inappropriate to show in a classroom. For movies with sensitive content, teachers can also send home permission slips with students and let the parents decide to say yes or no. In my children's high school, they sent home a permission slip asking if my son could see a particular war movie for world history. That way, the choice is left with the parents and teachers have covered their bases.

Censoring R rated movies also means that Schindler's list cannot be shown to High School students...What a History lesson it could be though, to illustrate the inhuman Holocaust! Please, drop the fake puritanism...

I am sorry but I needed to post twice as I cut my self off from the first one.
What I was saying is we as "professionals" do not need to, and should no be treated like the children! Let's let the teachers be creative, innovative, and working to motivate students. Isn't that what everyone is yelling about, motivation, test scores,etc.... Allow teachers to use any means necessary to teach!!! Thats all I'm saying.
To those of you who posted that she should have gotten permission, it's time you moved on out of teaching. We shouldn't have to beg for permission to show a movie in this day and age.

I guess I should count myself lucky. I had a showing of "Sleepy Hollow" to middle school students. I'm glad no one objected -or didn't know- the movie was R rated. The kids loved it, and I made it a Halloween-styled "who-done-it" problem solving in-class assignment.

-John Doe

I'm surprised there is a question. No, you may not show my underage child a film rated for adults without my permission. If you think your lesson is legitimate, send a note home first informing the parents of your intention. I'm not a prud but, as the parent, I am responsible for making these types of choices regarding my child. Not my child's teacher. No matter how well-intentioned.

There are a great many ways to teach a lesson. We should be creative enough to use material without swearing or nudity.

Palo Alto

The irony is that most high school students regularly watch the most appalling movies during their own time. Films are a form of literature, and the best films have much to teach. Most teens do not seek out these films on their own and the classroom can be a great place to introduce them to the power of a great film. Nevertheless, find out your schools policy concerning videos before you show them!

I'm no fake prude, and I really don't think it's time I "moved on out of teaching," and I also think it was wrong on many levels. Previous posters have made good points, particularly about it being the PARENTS' decision. If the teacher had gotten signed parent permission slips and permission from her principal, there still would have been the issue of copyright laws. Renting a movie from Blockbuster does not give you the right to show it in public.

I've been teaching over 20 years. I have a couple of movies that I show in my science classes. My district requires that I get administrator approval. This involves filling out a form that links the movie to our state learning standards before I show it. I send that form along with a permission slip home to parents. And these are PG-13 movies shown in a high school class. I don't think our school would approve an R movie. I don't think that is censorship, I just think it is good judgment. Our elementary classes are only allowed G movies.
As a parent of a junior high student, I want to know what movies are being shown and for what educational purpose. With only so many days in a classroom, it is important to justify the validity of spending class time on them.

For Mike who posted on December 14th - Surely you are can't mean what you are saying about not getting permission to show a movie in this day in age. I have to believe that you are trying to jerk people's chains for a reaction. If this is not the case than you should get out the teaching profession because your arrogance and ignorance has taken over your common sense. Parents are the only persons responsible for deciding what is and is not appropriate for their children and if this country ever gets to a point where we remove this right and responsibility from the parents than we might as well rename ourselves the Soviet Republic of America. Wise up because with your attitude you are headed for a lawsuit and you will lose it.

look. im a student and i say we should be able to watch Pg and Pg-13!! because we already learned about sex and other stuff.. why not? tell me a reason. im writing a paper on this so if you have any con reasons... please share

a permission slip should be sent to parents for consent. I disagree that R rate movies should be banned or censored. even the Motion Picture association acknowledges that R rated movies should not be held in appropriate for the classroom. The NCTE has a complete guideline outlining this topic.

Censoring a movie for "r" ratings would get rid of most our literature. I would bet the few who agreed have no probles teaching HUck Finn and to Kill a Mockingbird with all the N bombs dropped, but God forbid they teach the Color Purple.

Yes, teachers who self censor are just as guilty. As long as the movie has a valid place in the curriculum, permission slips have been signed by parents, and a district principals sign off, then r movies should not be unilaterally banned.

I do not think those so appalled at the use of a relevant piece of history are puritans, just ignorant and should leave teaching. teaching requires one to provide an educational setting for needed instruction. Dealing with sensitive issues, heated topics and vulgarity allows students to have an intelligent adult there to explain the ills and why they exist. Isn't that what education is truly about - preparing students for the role of citzenry?

I agree the teacher should send out permisson slips to allow students to watch r rated movies. Oh i am doing a report for school for schools to allow to let students to watch pg-13 movies in school. So please put up your cons for this comment thanks.

why cant we show them please write back...

Why can’t we watch rated R movies in school?
All Rated R movies don’t have nudity in it and also don’t show blood but might have bad language in it but it shouldn’t matter cause we hear it everyday and I hear it from teachers and they cuss and all that stuff to so it really shouldn’t matter what we watch in school.
Everyone that is in high school should be able to watch R rated movies do to the fact they watch them at the theaters anyways and everyone should be able to watch it in high school.
Every day in high school when a class watches a movie there teacher tells them it’s a PG and it’s a really old movie, why can’t we watch a better movie if they have one even though it is rated r or something like that.
Every teacher would probably show a better movie if there was one out about the old one and then someone made a new one which would be a better movie.
Everyone should be aloud to watch what they want to watch in school as long as it has to do with that class and not say “well we cant watch this movie it has blood and violence in it so we got to watch the old version” and that right there is what drives me insane when they say that cause it makes you want to tell them to show it cause you’ve seen it before and that your parents wont mind but sometimes its not what the kids want it’s the schools rules that we got to follow.
On a PG 13 movie it shows blood and violence and maybe a little bit of nudity but you don’t see anything but them taking off there clothes then the seen is over anyway so it shouldn’t matter what school shows s long as the student wants to watch it and the parents don’t care at all then us students should have more power over that part.
When we rent movies we rent action movies which sometimes have blood and romance and school should let that in school cause most parents let there kids watch that stuff at a young age now every kid wants to watch the most bloody movies and get scared and that’s why school should let R rated movies .
School shouldn’t be all about not watching movies cause they help kids learn more anyway cause kids remember cool movies so they can tell there friends so if school could teach movies that are any rated movie but rated X then school should show it and make it a new learning technique and they should see a better enhancement in grades and not so many F’s like there are now which isn’t a good thing but most students cant learn very good or tune out the teacher and want to do there own stuff but if school could show movies then the students should want to watch the movie and learn about what they need and at test time they should know what all was on the movie and not haft to fail the test for no reason cause they say they cant learn anything.
When teachers want to show a movie with blood they usually ask the school board and if they say they need a note from the parents to watch it or show it then the teacher usually takes the movie back and forgets the note or will ask the kids to get a note, I think school shouldn’t do that cause any kid who can drive an d makes money and goes to the movies they usually go to see the scary movies that are out and are rated R so it shouldn’t matter what kind of movie school teachers show cause it doesn’t help the teachers out who want to watch a movie that could help learn the students and haft to end up watching one in black and white which no student watches anyway so it is pointless to show it in school
I think.
Most schools should read this and think about doing it because it might help kids learn better then what they are doing now and might actually try to get there grades up so they can pass and might find the class a little bit easier.
If you had a choice when you was in school and you had a TV and a movie you wanted to watch in school but the teacher couldn’t show it and it was about the war and what all happened in the war, I think you might find this could work and kids might actually learn about what the teachers are trying to get them to learn a lot easier.
A rated R movie isn’t that bad but could have blood or violence but was about a war and a teacher in school wanted to show but it was R rated, then you would understand “hey this is about a war and might help the kids learn more about what happened and actually watch and understand what is happening and think about how bad wars are” and that would help the students understand why it is good not to get into wars with other countries

do you think since it is the parents decision that 13 year olds should beable to see rated R movies if their parent signs for them to see it but they shouldnt have to sit in the movie with them so what do you think?

Age restrictions on movies is a form of censorship. Why would a teacher endorse censorship? If you're a teacher and you're saying that we should need permission slips to show what the censors call "age inappropriate" material that will enhance the learning experience of our students, then I just don't understand you. Maybe you've become sucked into the censorship argument unknowingly.

However, the worst kind of censorship is uninformed parents. The kind that had Tom Sawyer banned, and the kind that banned Harry Potter from many schools. Many parents would complain about a rated "R" or "PG-13" movie in schools because they don't want their kids exposed to these things. Unfortunately parents, like it or not, your kids are already exposed. So now the question is, would you rather them learn about what they've seen in a safe school setting or at their friends house with the parents at work? Think about it, because in my experience, many don't.

My daughter's teacher let her class watch Lord of the Flies. She is just 12 and in grade 6, the movie is rated R in the states and 14A in Canada. We were not sent a permission slip nor were we informed that they were going to see it. My daughter had nightmares and so did several other kids. My daughter has since told me that they are going to watch Fahrenheit 9/11 next. Am I wrong in being upset?

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