Concerning Regulations on the Use of Films in Schools
As you know, last fall, the MCPS Administration put out a directive to principals and teachers that prohibited the use of films with certain ratings.
MCCPTA believes showing a film might have educational value even though films with that rating might normally be inappropriate. This is especially the case in high school Film Studies classes, English classes and Foreign Language classes. The new directive essentially eliminated most of the play list of some film classes.
This spring, MCCPTA participated in a work group to review the regulations and address these concerns.
In April, the Delegate’s Assembly passed two resolutions on this issue. Copies of the complete resolutions are attached to my written testimony. Among the recommendations in the MCCPTA resolutions were the following two points:
The school systems workgroup presented their recommendations to the Leadership Team two weeks ago. The workgroup’s recommendations were consistent with MCCPTA’s. However, we have two serious concerns regarding the Leadership Teams plans to implement these changes.
MCCPTA believes that teachers can be trusted to evaluate film clips for appropriateness and do not think that clip approval needs to flow through the central office. We would rather see some guidelines developed to be provided to teachers and the decision left in the teachers’ hands. Let the central office devote its time to deal with more pressing issues.
In addition, we strongly urge you to implement the recommended changes by the start of the school year this fall. Classes, especially film classes have already been very impacted by the restrictions and we do not want to see another semester pass without action. Many schools have successfully used a parental permission form for many years when teachers were showing PG-13 or R rated films in Middle School or High Schools. To wait any longer is a disservice to teachers, and more importantly, to students.