Posted by Adele on February 10, 2000 at 05:13:27:
In Reply to: When Can Our Children See LOTM? posted by Gally on February 09, 2000 at 18:25:34:
: I am a public school teacher in the Mohawk Valley and am showing LOTM for my US History students. It fits in so well with what they've learned already and the locale is identical to ours in so many ways. The history of this area comes alive and the students love it!
: Now, however, I'm being warned by colleagues that the film is "inappropriate" and I might expect trouble!!! I concede it is violent but it's very true to the violence of that period and we show 'Glory' as well. I now know it's rated 'R' (for violence; the "Love Scene" is suggested, not graphic, and can easily be dealt with.) I honestly hadn't looked at the rating when I pre-screened it for myself BEFORE I showed it to them.
: So I have a Big Question to you LOTM fans: What age is 'appropriate' for this film to be seen by young people?
: I must also tell you that I had "concerned parents" (read: Evangelical Christians) express dismay that I showed 'The Crucible' in class (with the bare "butt" shot carefully covered up) and was told by the administration, in no uncertain terms, not to show it again because "witchcraft" is offensive to some of our district's families. I know, I know: the irony of that situation was delicious and distressing at the same time. It must be Daniel Day Lewis movies! I'm so depressed about the whole thing, I'm seriously considering ditching a ten year career in teaching. Maybe work in a bar with "adults" after working in schools with "intellectuals"? Anyway, if I do quit (or get fired), maybe I'll show 'My Beautiful Launderette' on my last day (just kidding, in case THEY see this!)
: Anyway, please advise me: When did you show your kids this movie or at what age do you, especially you teachers out there, think students can "handle" this?
What a tricky situation this is - such a minefield now. My personal opinion is that having been to a "progressive" (English) school - I was exposed to some quite extraordinary films and documentaries in my general studies class and I don't believe that it did me any harm. However, as I think someone else has mentioned, it is a parents right to know what his/her child is being shown at school, particuarly if it is a film for adults (forgive me, I am assuming that an R rating is for over-18's?).
Our children are exposed to so much violence at such a young age that I think LOTM would not show them anything that they hadn't seen before - but that doesn't mean it is right. And it also doesn't mean that they have the emotional capacity to fully understand the motives behind the actions (Magua's revenge, Alice's suicide, Duncan's sacrifice). To be on the safe side, I would suggest that this film probably isn't suitable for children under 15 (that is the rating in UK) and that parental consent should always be gained before showing a film that is rated for a higher age group than the students.
Parents sometimes need reminding that not all violence is gratuitous or glorified - this is your history and sometimes it helps to have it thrust in your face in order to realise the full horror of it.
On a personal note - don't quit!!! We always need teachers who try to make education fun and a 'living' experience, and it is a good thing for someone to challenge the rules from time to time - it makes you realise what is important and what is redundant.
Best of luck though - and I hope your students enjoy the film.
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