sitting at dinner after a verrry long day at the hospital, my lovely 14 year-old daughter was asked about her day. usually, it is met with a nonchalant "it was okay..." but this night was different.
our ears perked up. not the typical response, she had our attention.
"ma, did you ever see the movie Crash?"
"uh, yeah...." stomach did a bit of a flop at that question. the movie disturbed me, very much. i remember blogging about it.
"we're watching it in tolerance class -- ma, that move is SO. GOOD!!"
i looked at jimbo in disbelief. i remember the R rating - since when does the school not consult the parents prior to showing something that is rated R? there was a scene toward the beginning of the movie i didn't actually write about, but it was over-the-top in graphic - a police officer sexually assaulted a woman that was in the car he had pulled over while her husband stood by and did and said nothing.
that was my first thought -- why would i want my 14 year-old's eyes on that? her response was "do you think i don't know about that stuff? do you think i don't know that stuff happens?"
i asked, incredulously and carefully guarded my words: "did she fast-forward through the traffic stop?"
"no." she looked away.
"are the words bleeped over?" she laughed, again assuring me she has heard those words before.
are you kidding me? is this what i can expect from a "blue ribbon" high school?
"what is your tolerance teacher's name?"
"no way. you are NOT going to make any phone calls..."
"ok," was my unexpected response. while my daughter pretends she knows who she is dealing with, she really doesn't have a clue because after i did my 9:00 a.m. vital signs at work the next day, a phone call was made to her guidance counselor to obtain her teacher's name, and then my call (after a brief discussion) was passed along to the vice principal's office for further discussion. she was unavailable, but i was assured i would get a call back.
boy, did i.
she had been prepped prior to calling me by molly's guidance counselor. she already knew me, knew what i needed, and not only thanked me for opening up a dialogue for their next history department meeting, but assured me the entire staff in the principal's office would be renting Crash this weekend because none of them had seen it yet.
i unleashed -- "you mean to tell me that NOBODY IN YOUR OFFICE has seen a RATED R MOVIE that is being shown to IMPRESSIONABLE TEENAGERS? are you KIDDING ME?!?!"
while she was professional, courteous and genuinely concerned about what had transpired, we discussed why the movie itself would be good to show teens what the word "intolerance" means -- if the inappropriate scenes and words were deleted -- and if parents had received notice and been given the opportunity to have their children opt out of watching such a movie during classroom time, just how things could be remedied.
as an aside, the very same movie was showing on the FX network last night and it was dubbed over and although i didn't watch more than five minutes of it, since it is network television (bearing in mind i realize how much the envelope is pushed regardless of being network or cable t.v. now), i am assuming the more sexually graphic scenes would have been deleted or glossed over. why on earth could the teacher not obtain a toned-down copy for classroom? if this is such an important teaching film, do you not think such a copy would be available for use in classes such as "tolerance?"
two points: i understand why this movie was chosen. if you read my previous post when i saw the movie (linked above), you will understand why i was disturbed by it, but also recognize the value of this movie when teaching about racism, bigotry, hatred, love -- it is all in there. i understand the *why*, i just don't like being blind-sided when i should have had an involvement in the decision to allow my daughter to view it.
second point: i am not a soccer mom, pta member, or political figure in that high school. i am very selective about the causes i take up, but i am telling you this: if i don't hear back from them by wednesday (after the weekend when the office staff has rented this movie and had their committee meeting), another phone call will be made by me, and this time, it won't be to the vice principal.
(did that sound intimidating, at all? i am a lover, not a fighter, but when it comes to my children....)
what do you think? i would love to hear other opinions on this.