Before bed the other night, one of my older sons handed me a letter from his social studies teacher. The teacher said he planned to show an R-rated film (minus one graphic scene) the following day to help students understand the culture they were studying. He asked that we sign and return the letter only if we did NOT want our son to see the movie.
I was grateful for the heads up. But more than that, I was very proud of my son for showing me the letter.
He could easily have “forgotten” to show it to me and watched the film with his classmates. We would have been none the wiser.
But he didn’t.
He gave us the letter, knowing full well there was a good chance we would request he not see it.
And that’s exactly what happened.
After reading a review at Pluggedin.com , we couldn’t in good faith offer our consent. The graphic violence in the movie would be hard for me to watch, let alone one of my kids. And although the teacher planned to skip the worst scene where an orphan had his eyes gauged out, there were other scenes and other things that concerned us just as much.
There is no doubt that this class remembers when a boy brought a gun to school last year and shot a classmate. While frightened students huddled in the back of classrooms, SWAT teams swept the halls, and took positions on the roof. I remember the fear in my own son’s voice when he called me from one of those darkened rooms. It was a terrifying morning for students and parents alike.
In my opinion, a movie with graphic violence should never be welcomed into the classroom, under any pretense. And I feel even stronger about it given our school’s recent history.
In the end, the teacher didn’t show the film, in part, because of my late night call to the principal. We are blessed to have some wonderful people in administration. She agreed that showing it was unnecessary.
She also agreed that future permission slips for something like this should require parental permission to allow—not disallow—a child to participate.
She even liked the idea of sharing a link to Pluggedin.com on such slips so parents can make informed decisions.
I hadn’t wanted to make that call. It’s not easy to single out or disappoint your child. And he was definitely disappointed. He left for the bus upset with me.
But making that call was the right thing to do. Not just for my own child. But for all those students who might not have given the permission slips to their parents.
This isn’t the first time I’ve raised concerns at one the schools. And it probably won’t be the last. But I’m ok with that. Hopefully, my boys are learning that it’s ok to stand up for what you believe is right. And that Christians can exercise grit with a touch of grace and make a difference.
My husband and I believe these two things:
- If God calls us to be the salt and light of the world, then we need to be out there in it.
- And if we are no different than the world we are in, we cannot be salt or light.
Being a Christian teen in a public school is hard. AMEN?? It’s not easy as parents, either, to see them face the cost of standing up for values that many scorn. But God doesn’t promise us easy.
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