A Bingham High School teacher recently showed an R-rated movie to a 10th-grade class, violating school and Jordan School District policy, and faces possible disciplinary action by the school district.
The movie - "Pink Floyd The Wall," a 1982 film about a disillusioned, suicidal rock star rated R for violence, sex, nudity and profanity - was shown during a 10th-grade English class.When it was released in 1982, Deseret News film critic Christopher Hicks, like other movie critics, panned the downbeat film, which featured music from the rock group Pink Floyd.
"There is very little dialogue, with music leading us into a series of barely connected stream-of-consciousness drivel, with symbolism so thick it clobbers the audience and an awful lot of blood and gore, along with heavy R-rated sex and nudity," Hicks wrote.
" `The Wall' also suffers from being far too anti-establishment, too anti-women - in fact, it's just too anti-everything. If life were as bleak and dreary as this picture paints it, we'd all be as suicidal as Pink (he movie's rock star)," Hicks' review said.
"There was a lot of garbage put in my daughter's mind that will be hard to get out. I question the legality of that teacher being able to do that. I think my daughter has been abused emotionally. The parents of the kids in that class should be sent a letter of apology, and it should never be allowed to happen again," said one upset mother, who asked not to be identified because she didn't want her 15-year-old daughter bothered by classmates because of the incident.
She said she called the Deseret News because she felt her complaints to the principal and school district went unheeded.
That isn't true, said district spokeswoman Patty Dahl, who confirmed that the incident had occurred. "The showing is not being taken lightly. The appropriate action is being taken."
Showing any video without prior permission violates both school and district policy. Dahl said the district is reviewing the incident and following proper due-process procedures for disciplinary action against a teacher.
All movies shown in the district must come from an approved list of films that contain curriculum value. Even movies viewed under special circumstances, such as a reward to students for getting top grades or reaching a goal in a read-a-thon, must be OK'd in advance, Dahl said.
"Pink Floyd The Wall" would never show up on any approved school list because of its R rating and subject matter, suicide.
Dahl also said teachers are not allowed to rent movies from video stores and show them to the students because that violates the copyright laws that restrict such videos to home use only.
Regarded as a local-control issue, policies on movies are formulated by the local school districts. Eileen Rencher of the State Office of Education said most of the state's 40 school districts, including Jordan, have clear-cut policies on movies. She called the Bingham High incident "isolated," saying parents shouldn't be concerned that students in Utah classrooms are being exposed to R-rated movies.
The mother said that, although she is angry with the teacher, she doesn't want him fired. She only wants teachers to be prevented from showing such videos.